Kittanning council appoints president
Kittanning Borough Council appointed a new council president on Monday and took on some tough issues with possible repercussions for the police department and the budget.
Randy Cloak became the new council president. After a 4-4 vote, Mayor Kirk Atwood broke the tie.
Cloak, who voted for himself, received votes from newly elected Councilman Dave Croyle and from Councilmen Andy Peters and Richard Reedy.
Council members Ange Turco, Betsy Wilt, Joie Pryde and Kim Fox cast the dissenting votes.
Council voted unanimously to reappoint Peters as council vice president.
Just one week after the 2014 budget was approved, Croyle voiced concerns over particular items and council agreed to reopen the budget.
Among his concerns was a contract services listing that had leaped from $500 to $10,500.
Borough Secretary Betty Thompson said that the large increase had to do with repairs for a borough-owned front loader, much of which will be paid for with grant funds.
Another similar item, under other operating expenses, showed an increase from $10,000 to $23,000.
Jim Mechling, streets supervisor, said that money was allocated for a borough garbage truck that needs to be repaired.
Croyle said his largest concern regards revenue projections from the local services tax.
“This will affect the borough with two schools closing,” he said.
Kittanning Middle School and Kittanning High School are set to close when the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School opens in Manor Township in 2015.
According to Croyle, that revenue loss could be up to $60,000.
“We have to prepare for that loss,” Croyle said.
Council agreed, 8-0, to scrap the budget and pass a preliminary budget on Feb. 3. A special meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 13 to pass a new budget.
New council nixes police dog
In an unexpected move, council withdrew its support for the proposed police dog fund and voted to return the money raised to donors.
The vote was 4-4, with Mayor Atwood again breaking the tie.
Reedy raised concerns about the costs associated with adding a drug dog to the police department, including potential police overtime.
“I think it's time borough council divorces itself from this,” Reedy said.
Police Chief Bruce Mathews said he agreed that more discussion was needed. He suggested council seek public comment and to present the public with a K-9 demonstration and cost breakdown.
Mathews said the police department had to request a police dog from elsewhere twice last year.
“But the times we needed one on the spot were immeasurable,” he said.
Fox, who had spearheaded the police dog fundraising, said the costs would be much lower than the initial projection of $54,000.
That initial projection included training and veterinary costs and a new police car.
The actual initial cost, Fox said, without adding a car, would be closer to $17,000. It would cost about $3,500 a year after that, he said.
Fox noted that donated funds amounted to $16,660, including a $10,000 Ben Roethlisberger grant.
But Croyle said it was a legal and ethical matter for him.
“If something happens to that funding, we (the borough) would have to pick it up,” he said.
Resident Diane Acerni told council that she thought the issue needs more public discussion.
“The things I heard are disturbing,” she said. She was concerned that council had not listed the issue on the meeting agenda.
The vote to drop the police dog project was 4-4. Cloak, Peters, Reedy and Croyle voted to drop the project and return all fundraising and grant money back to donors.
Wilt, Fox, Pryde and Turco voted to go forward with the project.
Atwood broke the tie in favor of dropping the project.
No garbage collection
Council announced garbage collection for today will be moved to Wednesday. There will be no garbage collection on Jan. 20.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Number of candidates insufficient for many Armstrong positions
- Sheriff pushes for action on Armstrong jail security
- Armstrong Junior-Senior High School to pick between grass, turf for fields
- Clerical error blamed as Armstrong inmate is released
- Yatesboro teen died from artery anomaly
- School supplies, equipment on the auction block in former Kittanning school gym
- Ford City will advertise for police chief, officers this week
- Armstrong County Jail warden resigns
- Reopening of Armstrong County locks with public, private funding made for ‘wonderful’ boating season
- Seneca Masonic Lodge marks milestone
- West Kittanning Council OKs parking, sign ordinances