Kittanning OKs tentative budget
KITTANNING — Kittanning Council approved a tentative budget for 2013 on Monday that keeps real estate taxes at the current rate of 27.5 mills.
But changes are in store.
Council voted 7-1 to approve the preliminary budget. Councilman Richard Reedy opposed it because of one of several cost-cutting measures discussed in a work session held before the regular meeting.
Those measures include:
• The proposal by council to not replace outgoing Chief of Police Ed Cassesse after he retires.
Instead, council wants to create the new position of Officer in Charge. President Chris Schiano said he thought it was a good decision since no officer had to be laid off. Cassesse's retirement date has not been set,
• The decision to lay off Randon Ditty, a permanent part-time street worker, who will work his last day on Dec. 28.
However, even though council voted 8-0 in favor of the layoff, Schiano said Ditty is a strong candidate to fill a full-time street worker position expected to open up in 2013.
• The proposed reduction in work hours for codes officer Rick McMillen from full time to part time. This proposal was vehemently opposed by Reedy and was the basis for his voting no to approve the preliminary budget. In the past Reedy has expressed concerns about blighted housing in the borough.
• The proposal to provide a cap on expenditures like gas, tires and vehicle maintenance for each fire department within the borough. Schiano said the borough will provide each fire department with $10, 000.
“When they reach the limit, they are on their own,” he said.
Mayor Kirk Atwood said he was comfortable with the preliminary budget.
“I did not support the budget last year,” he said. “There are cuts (for 2013) and it hurts but I'm comfortable with it.”
Schiano said it is necessary to make dramatic cuts because banks only want to look at the hard facts.
While drawing up the preliminary budget, council had to look at expenditures which fell short and have as yet gone unpaid. such as the 2012 allocation to the pension for uniformed police in the amount of $49,335.38. Council voted 8-0 to postpone that payment until the first quarter of 2013. Adding to the budgetary constraints is a 3 percent increase in police wages.
Nevertheless, Schiano said “the lines on the graph are lining up.”
“We're approaching solvency,” he said.
Council will vote to adopt the 2013 budget on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m.
In other borough news:
• Council discussed at length the issue of increasing landlord fees for rental units. The issue was tabled until the Dec. 27 meeting.
• Council voted 8-0 in favor of making council chambers available once a week for the use of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly.
• Linda Hemmes, of the Allegheny River Development Corp., announced the organization had sent a proposal to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open up Locks 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the spring. She said the ARDC stated in the proposal that it would furnish staff to operate the locks April through October.
• Council voted 8-0 to pay the remaining balance of $100,000 on the tax anticipation loan by Dec. 31.
• Council announced parking will be free in town the week before Christmas.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.