Kolton's ideas, thoughts and opinions

12 Oct

Doing the Same With Less, the Story of the Kittatinny Budget

Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz has just proposed his budget for Kittatinny in the 2016 fiscal year. As expected the city’s budget has diminished greatly since the Susquehanna Steel Corporation decommissioned one of their blast furnaces. With this decreased revenue our mayor proposed some controversial budget cuts and an even more controversial tax raise, but much of the budget is still up for debate.

This year Kittatinny had a 10.2 percent taxable property decrease which made it very tough for Mayor Petykiewicz to balance this year’s budget while using last years as an outline. The mayor has proposed a 0.3 mill tax increase, but even with this increase the Kittatinny tax levy has decreased by 3.5 percent. With this decrease in the levy the mayor has proposed some needed but controversial cuts.

During the city council meeting on Oct. 5, 2015 it was very evident that one of the most opposed cuts was that to the police budget. The mayor has proposed that Kittatinny reduces the number of police officers from 10 to eight. The mayor also proposed that KIttatinny police would no longer work the early shift (4 a.m. to noon), but instead all emergencies calls would be handled on a contract basis by the Schuykill County Sherrif’s deputies.

The Kittatinny Police Chief, Roman Hruska, was very distraught after hearing the news about the police budget cuts. In responding to the proposed laying off of two officers Hruska stated that Kittatinny would be losing two good officers and even better citizens, but Hruska was much more upset with the contracting out of the early police shift.

“I will not stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of police protection for a third of the day.” Exclaimed Hruska.

When asked for other suggestions the chief stated that he would take a pay cut if others would agree to it if it could save his officers jobs, but he continued to insist that the police needed a new cruiser for their fleet.

Hruska was not the only person opposed to the police cuts. Bjarne Westhoff, the President of Pennsylvania Police Association, and Denelda Penoyer, City Council President, both agreed that the police fleet was not the places to cut the city budget.

Another proposed budget cut that should concern the citizens of Kittatinny is the change in the garbage pickup policy. This year the mayor has proposed that garbage pickup will be taken off the tax levy. Kittatinny will continue to use the Tioga Sanitation Company, but the charge for this service will now be added to city water bills. This proposed budget change would save the city over $180,000 and met very little resistance at the council meeting, so expect to see this added fee on your water bills next year.

The mayor has also proposed two more layoffs to AFSCME employees. One of those layoffs would take place in the city clerk’s office and the other would take the engineer’s office.

Other increases that should concern the average citizens of Kittatinny are the proposed changes to the prices of parking. The mayor has proposed that the parking meters along Main Street raised their rates from 10 cents to 25 cents.  Mayor Petykiewicz also proposed that the parking permits of the downtown lots be raised from $65 per year to $75 per year.

At the beginning of the city council budget meeting Mayor Petykiewicz acknowledged that the shutting down of the Susquehanna Steel Corporation’s blast furnace has greatly hurt the town. It not only hurt the city budget, but has also hurt the almost 600 people that got laid off in result. With the reduced budget the Kittatinny city council has a lot to discuss before their Dec. 1 deadline. Keep reading the Kittatinny Daily News for any new news regarding the future of our town and our 2016 budget.


Leave a Reply

© 2024 Kolton's ideas, thoughts and opinions | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

GPS Reviews and news from GPS Gazettewordpress logo