The city of Kittatinny, Pennsylvania will be impacted by the purposed budget if passed on December 1, 2015. The following budget plan was made out by Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz and will be sent to the members of the City Council to be reviewed. Petykiewicz has made the potential budget come nearly even with the income revenue of 2015’s budget plan.
Although, Mayor Petykiewicz states that he can guarantee there will be changes made to the purposed budget residents can expect a dramatic change to their 2016 year if the budget is passed.
Due to the decommissioning of Blast Furnace Unit 1 at Susquehanna Steel Corp., the budget is looking at a $103.8 million deficit and needs to amplify the industrial economy with the 2016 budget plan and the layoff of 600 workers.
Residents could look for an increase in household taxes with the average rate being a $30 increase per household. Mayor Petykiewicz raised the current tax rate that sits at 4 mills to 4.3 mills. City Council member Denelda Penoyer suggested the tax rate be raised to 5 mills. Other City Council members agreed and thought that an estimated $100 extra a month would be a reasonable tax raise.
Raising taxes aren’t the only increases that residence will be faced with. The current purposed budget displays an increase on water bills, as well as a fee for local garbage pickup. Household owners can be expecting an additional $30 charge that wasn’t charged in 2015.
City Council member Penoyer, also, added that a damaging effect of the purposed budget was the cuts at the police station. She included to inform that Mayor Petykiewicz is leaving a gap of no enforcement from 4 a.m. to noon. Petkiewicz purposed the unemployment of two police officers. While, Penoyer suggested a 10 percent decrease in pay for each officer to keep the stability of workers throughout the day.
AFSCME Local 644 President Martha Mittengrabben and Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34 President Bjame Westhoff both alike agreed to a pay cut of their unions. A contract would have to be written and agreed upon by union workers but would be a positive outlook that requires no lay-offs.
“The budget still needs to be approved by our City Council. I guarantee there will be changes made”. Mayor reiterates as the budget proposal made its way to the news conference.
“Was there any time that you feared for your life while serving in the Navy?” He chuckled and said something utterly unforgettable: “Do you want to rephrase your question? Was there a time where I didn’t fear my life while serving in the Navy?”
David Thompson, a 48-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater seems like your everyday student. He walks to class like every other student, carries a backpack like every other student, and has to study like every other student. What you don’t know is that David risked his life for all the other faculty and staff around him since he was 17-years-old.
David explained what it was like to be in the Green Side Navy and what it was like to spend all his time with the Marine Corps. The Green Side Navy is a Fleet Marine Force (FMF); he worked in the Marine Corps Religious Administrative Department. He described himself as support for the Marine Corps; he stated: “The Marine’s don’t support us, we support them”.
I asked about the meals David and others received while serving in the Navy. He exclaimed, everyone got fed; three meals a day, whether it was an MRE (meals ready to eat) or a hot meal that was served to them in the “chow hall”. There are two different MRE choices; a brown meal, which is protein based and was used to fill you up fast serving you 3,000 calories. The other option would be a white meal, which were water based meals that were used in high altitudes rather than regular terrine. White meals are 9,000 calories and everyone was recommended to eat one, at least, once a month to build up calories to be burned off for the next month. In 2003, David went 79 days without a hot meal.
Bathing is another subject that was discussed; during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, David went 100 hours without a shower. Bathing wasn’t a requirement; the men and women would bathe when it was available. Again, in 2003, during Ground Roar, David went 72 days without a bath. “We were given a shower before a hot meal. I ate an MRE three times a day”.
I asked a close related question to David about if it was common to see female figures in the Navy. He told me that it was very common to see women in the marine corps, army, and in the air force. The year 1990, was the first time that David saw a coast guard; he told me he was in Saudi Arabia and saw no women aboard the coast guard ship. He exclaimed, “Women in the military, I think, have became stronger as the time progressed. From 1980 to 2000 there was a huge progression for women in the military”.
There were two ways that David’s day could go. He explained one day could consist of waking up at five a.m., going on a three mile, and getting done at around 6:30 a.m. The next step would be to shower, go to the chow hall, line up in roll call, then go to your job. There would be a lunch break in there, but then after work at around 16:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m.) they would do another roll call formation and let you go. Some chose to eat dinner then crash, and some men/women decided to do other activities, such as surfing. This was one of David’s favorite activities to do when he was stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
On training days, things were a different around the camp. Wake up was two a.m., there was a 15 mile hump and extended chow when they got back. David explained that he was used to not having days off. When they would finish early, many would use that time to catch up on sleep.
David’s job in the Marine Corps Administrative Department was a job that wouldn’t be wished upon anyone. He had tasks such as providing services to the Chapel, training, taking supplies out to the battle field and going on the field himself. He told me there were many struggles. Being on the battle field meant watching friends die and having the will power to keep shooting instead of trying to save his/her life. David lost 33 friends in an 11 minute period of time. Part of his job was also being a coordinator/communicator between the Chapels. One thing David would have to do was provide communication to the families of fallen soldiers. News of the death had to be very confidential. It was brought to the families at the same time to avoid conflict.
I asked David, next, if he had anything that he wishes he could say to today’s society. Many people take the small things in life for granted, and this is what David said: “Cherish it; I’m going to say, cherish the moment. You only have one shot at this life, okay? So, cherish every moment. I’d add, every once in a while just stop; look at the grass, look at a flower. Notice the sunlight; notice the colors around you. Sit on a bench and just watch people go by, and see what their reactions are. Take time to, just, thank God for giving you the ability to actually feel. That’s what’s going to make the most difference”. He explained to me the value of flipping on a light switch, flushing a toilet, heat, air conditioning, and, simply, looking outside and seeing lights in the night sky.
David also explained the difference between the United States and many of the 67 third world countries he’s been to. He described the United States as a “throw away country”. Here we buy something, then, end up not liking it and throwing it away. We take advantage of buying something and not using it until its last capability. He told me the United States is cleaner because of environmental acts, but we don’t respect our paved roads or running water.
“Was there any time that you feared for your life while serving in the Navy?” He chuckled and said something utterly unforgettable: “Do you want to rephrase your question? Was there a time where I didn’t fear my life while serving in the Navy?” In the years 2003-2005, David was in the ground war in Iraq/Afghanistan. He told me that the war was going well in the beginning until being blown up. David told me that it was difficult to step outside when fear was always in the back of his mind. He told me that fear hit every single person, it just affected them in different ways. “To say you’re unafraid; no. The fear sinks right through you”.