Share This Page

Kittanning OKs tentative budget

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 12:07 a.m.

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 bbeatty@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.