Lance: To the Monsour nuisance. Jeannette police officers regularly waste their time tracking trespassers and squatters in the abandoned Monsour Medical Center, which has become a public nuisance as well as a safety hazard. Eventually, police, firefighters or trespassers are going to get hurt — or worse — inside the deteriorating complex. Yet the hospital administration that abandoned the medical center six years ago after a series of failed state inspections continues to ignore this towering monument to their disregard. And that's intolerable.
On the “Watch List”: Westmoreland County's 2013 budget. As sure as two legs on a Thanksgiving turkey, the county's “preliminary” spending plan comes with a $16.5 million deficit — which, once again, we're assured will be trimmed before year's end. And how much will Westmoreland's $37 million surplus be tapped to balance the books? This perennial deficit-cutting exercise has gone on long enough. What's needed are meaningful reforms in county government to stem the deficits before commissioners sit down at the carving board.
Laurel: To the Westmoreland County Tax Assessment Appeals Board. A pitch from the absentee owner of the deteriorating Jeannette Glass plant to slash the site's assessment from $2.6 million to about $500,000 found no support among appeals board members. And rightfully so. Never mind that owner Zion Bullitt owes thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes to the city, county and school district.
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