More 'research' needed
A recent letter to the editor (“Research the candidates,” May 11) claimed to help voters to be informed of the qualities of the candidates, stating qualities in terms of Connellsville's financial situation while conveniently, it seems, failing to expound upon the factors that contributed to the situation and city council's course of action.
Due to circumstances beyond the city's control, the former tax-collection agency, CENTAX, went out of business, resulting in a loss of revenue to the city. Council basically had two options to consider to maintain the level of services to residents without a work disruption: either raise taxes or increase our tax-anticipation note and work to resolve the budget shortfalls in the forthcoming years. Some neighboring communities have raised taxes to eliminate their tax-anticipation note. I might add that the tax rate in those communities is more than double that of Connellsville's. We chose to increase the tax-anticipation note perusing legal remedies, hoping to recoup the lost revenues to the city.
The city has contracted with a new agency, which, if current trends continue, will meet collection expectations for this year. The collections were slow to start but have steadily grown each month, totaling around $116,000 for the first quarter. The last reported monthly collection was up to $54,900. So $54,900 multiplied by nine for the remaining year equals $494,100 plus $116,000 equals $610,100 and $550,000 was projected in anticipated collection of Earned Income Tax this year.
Raising taxes with the current economy and an older population in the city was not a viable option. There is no disaster in the city, as proposed by some — just a situation being dealt with by rational, experienced and, may I add, qualified elected officials.
The writer is a Connellsville City councilman and a candidate for Fayette County treasurer.