Connellsville treasurer asks council to schedule 2014 budget meetings promptly
Connellsville City Treasurer Judy Keller expressed concerns Wednesday night about the city's bleak financial future and asked council members to schedule 2014 budget meetings as soon as possible.
“It's that time of the year again. We need to start to prepare for the 2014 budget,” Keller said. “I've heard nothing about a resolution for budget meetings, and that really concerns me.
“Will the city be voting at the October or November meetings to set up the budget meetings?” Keller asked.
“We haven't set up any dates yet,” said Councilman Brad Geyer, the city's director of accounts and finances.
Keller estimated it will cost the city about $1 million just to pay its employees, make loan interest payments and meet monthly expenses, including utilities, insurance, maintenance and unforeseen bills.
However, Keller told council members that the city only has less than $800,000 left to meet those expenses.
“We have a minimum of $1 million in expenses,” Keller said. “The taxpayers are going to have to bear the burden. The city has three options. You can raise taxes, cut back on expenses or continue to borrow money to pay back the loan and meet expenses.”
Keller said the public has a right to know what the city plans to do before residents are caught by surprise.
“The public will have 30 days after we adopt a tentative budget to make comments,” Geyer said. “The public will not be surprised. We will have to see what floats to the top at the end.”
Geyer said he plans to remain positive instead of “crying to the newspaper that the city is broke, and we're going to have to raise taxes.”
In other business, council:
• Executed the board of health's order to abate public nuisances by demolishing properties located at 916 Aetna St., 108-110 Gallatin Ave. and 1018-1020 Aetna St. through the city's redevelopment authority utilizing the 2013 Community Development Block Grant fund.
• Placed an invitation for bid for the sale of any city interest in vacant properties located on Francis Avenue and Run Avenue and direct the city clerk to advertise these parcels for bid. Bids are to be received no later than 4 p.m. Oct. 14 and will be opened at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at city hall during the regularly scheduled city council meeting.
Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.