Borough budget to get approval next month
Passage of Whitehall Borough's 2013 final budget likely will occur in January.
Council members and borough officials at their final scheduled meeting of the year, held on Dec. 19, did not discuss the municipality's spending plan for next year that includes $8.8 million in the general fund.
At that time, the municipality still was awaiting final certified property values from Allegheny County reassessments, which put final passage of the budget on hold until next month, borough Manager James Leventry said.
Allegheny County Senior Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. issued an order extending the deadline for municipalities to pass their 2013 budgets until Jan. 31, because of the delayed reassessment numbers, which were supposed to be distributed to towns by last Friday.
Municipalities in Allegheny County must change their millage rate to become “revenue neutral” based on the final certified reassessed values of properties, meaning they will not get any surplus funding from the court-ordered reassessments. However, towns can take a 5-percent “windfall,” something Whitehall officials said this month they did not plan to do.
Whitehall Mayor James Nowalk is carrying a picture in his wallet of one of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut earlier this month. Six school administrators also died when a gunman entered the school.
“It's obviously a very, very sad situation and we all have different ways of dealing with it,” Nowalk told Whitehall Council last week. “I'm going to keep this in there until we find some solution to gun violence in this country.”
The Whitehall mayor, along with police Chief Donald Dolfi, said local officials are staying vigilant in ensuring that officers have a presence in and around borough schools.
Whitehall officers will review practices and procedures for critical incident responses, Dolfi said.
“I believe as far as individual building security, staff training, just reemphasis on safety techniques, being alert, being aware, from my perspective, I think everybody was right on top of it,” Dolfi said.
Route 51/88 project
A roughly $15 million Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 11 project to upgrade and improve the Route 51/Route 88 intersection — set as a bridge replacement project — likely will go out to bid early next year.
Whitehall Manager James Leventry said last week that he spoke with PennDOT officials who said the project, located in Pittsburgh's Overbrook neighborhood and Whitehall, “is still moving forward.”
Yet, Whitehall will be responsible for some parts of the project, including sidewalks in the borough's portion of the undertaking, Leventry said.
A large star shinning bright in the sky, assembled through a pulley system and hanging nearly 40 to 50 feet high above the ground, almost looks real.
Whitehall Councilwoman Kathy DePuy, who oversees the borough's annual holiday decoration's contest, announced the winners of this year's house decorating contest at last week's borough council meeting.
The contest was judged by borough officials.
The awards will be given at a future council meeting.
The winners are:
Best Overall Display: Doreen Valentine, 4850 Old Boston Road; Best Colored Lights: James and Kathleen Peelor, 5045 Azalea Drive; Most Fun Display: Susan Gonano, 50 Windvale Drive;
Best Nativity: Donald & Jeannie Kemmler, 5345 Orchard Hill Drive; Best Star: Richard & Mary Debski, 1019 Varner Road; and honorable mentions: Tracey Ruscitto, 221 Maxwell Drive and Kenneth & Kristin Figura, 125 Audbert Drive.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-338-5818 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.