600 individuals have lost their jobs at the Susquehanna Steel Corporation, but it will affect everyone who lives in Kittatinny. The mayor has proposed a new budget for the upcoming year and it reflects the hardships of this time.
Since the loss of nearly half of its workers due to the blast furnace being shut down, the Susquehanna Steel Corporation has cost the city nearly $400,000 in taxable revenue. Along with that the assessed value of property in Kittatinny has decreased by 10%. Putting the mayor in a tough position to figure a balanced and fair budget for all.
“There will be no pay raises this year, but pay cuts are not off the table.” Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz said. This was one of the many aspects of the proposed budget that Petykiewics discussed.
Along with no pay raises, this proposed budget includes garbage pickup being paid privately, and the city tax rate increasing to 4.3 mills. Other aspects of this proposed budget have not gotten positive feedback.
Chief of police Roman Hruska, has not liked the idea of two police officers being let go and has even said that he does not feel comfortable living in the city if that is the case. “I will take a 10% cut in pay immediately if the mayor will do so as well.” Hruska pleaded.
Even in this trying year, Petykiewicz has decided to include buying a new police cruiser into the proposed budget. “Two cars are needed, we cannot have only one working car in the event of an emergency.” Petykiewicz said.
Possibly the most controversial part of the proposed budget is the increase in the city tax rate from 4 mills to 4.3. This would mean more taxes for the people who have lost their jobs and have less money to go around.
Petykiewicz understand that these are tough times for everyone who lives in Kittatinny and knows tough decisions have to be made. “Kittatinny has to eventually diversify jobs and go away from relying on just one industry.” Petykiewicz explained.
This proposed budget is just the beginning of what is to surely be a hotly contested subject for months to come and not everyone is going to be happy or satisfied. But since Kittatinny is in this situation, it mine as well make the best out of the worst.