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Monday, July 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Out-of-whack expenses: On the long road to balancing its 2013-14 budget, the Hempfield Area School Board closed Bovard Elementary School and used $2.5 million from its capital reserve. And still that wasn't enough: Taxpayers were hit with a 1.5-mill tax hike, stemming in part from increases in employees' health care and pension costs — the latter courtesy of the state's lackadaisical lawmakers who have yet to fix an antiquated, defined-benefit pension system. Until Harrisburg gets off the dime, taxpayers can expect to endure a lot more pocket-diving just to cover school employees' retirements.

Latrobe's next step: Facing a $500,000 projected debt by 2016, Latrobe officials are moving ahead with a five-year management plan that affects every city department. In line with this, are there not cooperative ventures with neighboring Unity that could assist the city's bottom line? For example: a shared police department. Nothing ventured, nothing saved.

Another hard-learned lesson: The sting of $27,711 in thefts from the Derry Area Football Boosters Club directly affects the good work of this organization and the team members it supports. Charged with theft is former club president Lori M. Nicely. And if that's not bad enough, the treasurer of the cheerleaders boosters around the same time allegedly pocketed nearly $12,000. Chalk up two more lessons in why checks and balances are a must for any organization, large or small, that collects money.

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