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Oakmont Council to present budget preview

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Oakmont Council will release a first draft next month of the 2014 general fund budget, which likely won't pass until the last week of 2013, officials said Monday.

The council refused to provide a rough estimate of the projected figure and was noncommittal about raising taxes next year. The 2013 general fund budget totaled $3.35 million.

Council Vice President Nancy Ride said the borough is expected to collect about $1.58 million in real estate taxes by year's end. Collection totals to date are about $1.2 million.

Overtime questioned

Council also discussed an email they received last week from Oakmont Chamber of Commerce Director Summer Tissue. The email listed concerns over how Mayor Robert Fescemyer schedules police coverage of certain events, particularly for those with no history of police presence needed.

“If the nonprofit (hosting the event) feels that two officers are sufficient, but the (mayor) thinks they need six, the nonprofit has to pay for six,” the email read. “It would be cheaper to pay for outside security.” It went on to encourage the council to find ways to avoid unnecessary police overtime.

Tissue said Tuesday that the chamber takes no exception to how the mayor's office currently handles its police scheduling. She said the chamber “merely wants to stay on top of the issue, so no changes are made without the chamber's knowledge.”

But Fescemyer said there have been no changes in police coverage and the current scheduling system has been in place for six years.

The mayor has final say on how much police coverage is needed at certain events. If the hosting party doesn't want to pay for man hours they deem unnecessary, the cost falls to the borough.

“Some people think that we're gouging the government and trying to build up pension for part-timers, but I have 40 years of experience and I know how much of a presence is needed,” Fescemyer said. “I've been in situations where two officers are expected to handle 500 rioters, and it's not good. Citizen safety is my absolute top priority and I plan accordingly.”

Council will further discuss the issue at its Nov. 4 meeting, council President Tim Milberger said.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com.

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