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Kittanning budget draws contention

Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Kittanning Council reviews the monthly agenda during Mondays meeting October 7, 2013

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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

KITTANNING — Matters concerning at least two borough-related bills were the source of some discussion during Monday's council meeting.

Councilman Richard Reedy expressed concern about whether the borough had funds available to pay the remaining balance for the uniformed police pension plan.

The total pension plan sum for the borough's uniformed police is $192,036. The borough has received a state allocation from the General Pension System State Aid in the amount of $120,415.11. That leaves a $71,620.89 gap, which the borough must pay by the end of December.

Council members Mike Rosenberger, Betsy Wilt, Joie Pryde, Kim Fox, Ange Turco, Chris Schiano and Reedy voted 7-0 to pay the remainder out of the general fund as soon as funds become available. Councilman Andrew Peters was absent.

As soon as the vote was over, however, Reedy said he had a question: “Where's the money coming from?”

“From taxes,” Turco said.

Other council members noted that the current budget has a sizable buffer — the $250,000 tax anticipation loan, which council secured at the beginning of 2013 and which has yet to be used.

Yet when it came to settling a $4,500 bill belonging to Hose Co. 4, Reedy was quick to suggest council pay the amount.

Each of the three fire departments in the borough are allocated $10,000 a year to pay for fire equipment and utilities.

Hose Co. 4 had reached that limit.

Earl “Buzz” Kline, of Co. 4, told council that the fire department reached its limit because a truck maintenance bill of about $4,500 went unpaid by council last year and carried over to this year's expenses.

“That's why we're out of money,” Kline said.

Reedy made a motion for council to approve giving a $4,500 credit to the fire department, but the motion failed for lack of a second.

Rosenberger made a new motion for council to give a $4,500 credit to the fire company only if sufficient funds are available in the current budget.

The vote was approved by 6-1. Reedy opposed it.

Schiano told Kline he would let him know the outcome later this week.

In other business:

• Scott Crawford, a representative from KEEGAN Wireless, asked council to allow a portion of Market Street (from the Citizens Bridge to the Health House at 247 Market St.) to close to motorist traffic from 6 a.m. Saturday until Sunday afternoon. He said the closure is necessary to allow for a 400-ton crane to complete work on an equipment shelter. The sidewalks will remain open to pedestrians, and both McKean and Jefferson streets will be open to motorists.

Council voted 7-0 approving the temporary closure.

• Resident and former borough officer Alan “Butch” Puccetti asked council to consider looking into other cable carrier options for the borough. He said the current carrier, Comcast, just raised rates again.

“Just because they're the big dog doesn't mean they're the only dog in town,” he said.

• Council voted 6-1 to approve this year's Trick-or-Treat be held on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. Turco opposed the suggestion, saying he disliked the change from the traditional day of Oct. 31.

• Pryde announced that Light up Night will be Nov. 22.

• November's next council meeting will be held Nov. 11.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303.

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