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Greensburg Laurels & Lances

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Laurel: To Westmoreland County trailblazers. Acquiring 10 miles of former rail line will eventually link the Westmoreland County Heritage Trail to the Great Allegheny Passage, which runs between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. County officials are confident that the projected $3 million cost will be privately financed, just as much of the county's park system is funded. Long in the works, what's proposed is great news for Westmoreland's many bikers and hikers.

On the “Watch List”: Latrobe's 2014 budget. It comes as no surprise that the city is facing some tough decisions after previous projections of doom and gloom. Service cuts along with tax increases appear likely. But given that grim outlook, what has the city done since the last budget to improve its economic outlook, say through cost-sharing with neighboring municipalities? Unfortunately, and not just in Latrobe, some municipal leaders spend more time cursing the iceberg in front of them than charting a course around it.

An observation: Those fancy radio-enabled water meters being installed by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, which allow meter readings without entering customers' homes, are billed as money-savers. But they also raise some suspicion at a time when government suspicion is warranted. For example, could these meters perhaps one day be used to control residents' water usage? The “why” behind this upgrade deserves more than a pat answer.

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