The town of Kittatinny, Pennsylvania has been eagerly awaiting Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz’s new budget and the first draft was presented this morning.
The new budget reveals that that the tax rate for property owners will be raised from 4 mils to 4.3 mils, or about $30 a year per household. The budget also reveals that Sesquahanna Steel company has let go of 600 people. The last major piece of info the budget sates that the Kittatinny police department will lose two police officers and no longer handle the 4am to noon shift in Kittatinny. Any emergencies will now be handled by the Schuylkill County Sheriff’s office. Denelda Penoyer, the president of the Kittatinny city council has assured the public that they are going to work on the budget.
“We will meet every Tuesday until the December 1st deadline to work out the budget,” Penoyer said to the press about the work the city council will put into the budget.
“We have had to make some difficult choices, but we need to diversify our city’s economy, ” Petykiewicz said of his proposed budget. Other costs that are new to the budget are the cost of a brand new mowing device for the city beach at White Deer Lake.
“I’m not happy about the weed removal vehicle, but I do see the need for one. Right now the police is the big problem, ” Penoyer commented about the removal vehicle. Penoyer isn’t the only one who isn’t happy about the current police situation. Police Chief Roman Hurska has also voiced his thoughts about the police cuts.
“I cannot stand by and watch the police force lose a third of the day…..he needs to change the budget. We would lose 2 really good officers,” Police Chief Roman Hurska said about the mayor’s proposed budget. With the mayor’s new proposed budget, the total number of officers hired by the city of Kittatinny would fall from 10 officers to 8. Bjarne Westhoff, the president of the Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34, is also upset about the possible layoffs.
“I feel awful, I consider them good friends, their loss would be terrible for the city. I now fear for the safety of Kittatinny,” Westhoff said. All speakers have said they would take a 10% pay cut to help keep the laid off workers.
Martha Mittengraben, the president of the AFSCME Local 644, is also not happy about the 2 works the city office is going to lose to the budget cuts.
“It is our job to support our members and we’re not happy about these layoffs,” Mittengraben said. When Mittengrab was asked about possibly opening concessions, she said, “I would think about concessions. We understand the pain they’re going through. I would take a pay cut in order to keep these 2 fine workers in our city.”