Proposed 2016 Budget

Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz unveiled his proposed 2016 budget for Kittatinny and held a press conference earlier today. The proposed budget must be approved by Dec. 1, and will go in effect on Jan. 1. Since Kittatinny has been under immense financial stress lately, this proposed budget will become a hot topic in the City Council.

Mayor Petykiewicz started to press conference by saying he has a heavy heart, and that he had to make many difficult decisions. He mentioned that he sympathizes with the employees of Susquehanna Steel who lost their jobs due to the plant closing one blast furnace. Susquehanna Steel is Kittatinny’s largest employer, and an integral part of the town’s economy.

The loss of industrial property value due to the blast furnace closing is estimated at over $100 million. This is the main reason that the mayor is forced to make drastic changes. The unemployed workers may also move out of town, therefore causing empty houses to drive down residential property value, which is estimated to decrease by about $1 million.

Another major aspect of the proposed budget is the feud between the mayor and the police chief, Roman Hruska. Mayor Petykiewicz is proposing cutting two officers, which would save about $110,000 in wages. The mayor is also proposing a $35,000 contract with Schuylkill County sheriff’s deputies. The deputies would take over the 4 a.m. to noon shift in Kittatinny.

Chief Hruska is infuriated by this proposal. “I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of police protection for a third of the day…I don’t know what the mayor was smoking.” Chief Hruska also mentions this proposal puts the citizens in unnecessary danger. He believes that the police department should be the last place to look when deciding where to make cuts.

One more expense related to the police department is the need for a new police cruiser. The estimated cost is almost $55,000. Much of the cost for the cruiser is in the special equipment needed for it.

In the proposed budget, the mayor took garbage pickup off of the city’s tax levy. He proposed to add the cost to the city water bills. The service itself will remain the same, however the charge will be about $30 per month, or $360 per year per household. Commercial and industrial properties already privately handle their waste-disposal.

The mayor is also proposing a tax increase, from 4 mills to 4.3 mills. For example, if a house is valued at $100,000, the owner would only pay $30 more in property tax per year. Mayor Petykiewicz is also open to increasing it to 5 mills, or a $100 increase in property tax per year. The mayor encourages people to voice their opinions on the tax increase.

Mayor Petykiewicz hopes to increase tourism to the area. He is encouraging different newspapers to vacation in Kittatinny and write articles about their experiences. The mayor referred to Kittatinny as “the gateway to North Central Pennsylvania.” He also says it is one of the most beautiful places around.

A 10 percent pay cut is also possible for officials. Many officials say they are in support of the cut if other agree to it.

Denelda Penoyer, president of the City Council, says there is an immense amount of work to be done by Dec. 1. She says there are a lot of things she disagrees with in the proposed budget. The council will go over the proposal and make what is expected to be a large amount of changes to it. She also encourages to people of Kittatinny to voice their opinions on the proposal. Penoyer noted that it will be a long and hard road to get a budget approved.

Published in:Uncategorized |on October 13th, 2015 |No Comments »

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply