by Jonathan Weaver
An effort to replace a 10-year-old garbage truck in Kittanning Borough was dashed, at least temporarily.
After detailed discussion last month and throughout the past few sessions, Kittanning Borough elected officials were not able to agree on a plan to purchase the borough a new garbage truck.
First Ward Councilwoman Betsy Wilt attempted two separate motions to purchase the truck from Tri-County Truck Center, along Route 28/66, at last night’s regular meeting, but both did not result in enough positive votes.
Wilt’s initial request included purchasing the truck, but would have required a $2 per month garbage fee increase in order to finance the purchase.
“And, I’d also like a resolution attached to that that when (the truck) is paid off, the $2 increase would go into a separate fund for the purchase of the next garbage truck we need,” Wilt said. “Because I think that’s what happened the last time we needed (a truck). We did have a raise in the rates, but we didn’t have the money saved after it was paid off.”
Wilt estimated it would take seven years to pay off the new truck.
Mayor Kirk Atwood and Council President Kim Fox agreed raising garbage rates would not do.
“Raising our fee is not acceptable,” Mayor Atwood said. “We’re $7 higher than Ford City per month! This is a tax increase – we’re going to shell it like it’s not.”
Council President Fox added that garbage rates increased $5 just within the past decade and council members should at least look at possibly sourcing out waste management.
“I think there are other ways to make some changes financially that I think would pay for the garbage truck,” Fox said. “I think we have some options that more than cover it.
“We owe it to the residents to do a study and get quotes. In the past, it hasn’t been feasible.”
Councilman Andy Peters justified the increase would break down to $2 per week, which is referred to as “peanuts.”
Former Councilman Tom Close argued that council members and former police officials have not properly-enforced the system.
As part of the final budget, council members project garbage collection will collect about $750,000 in 2017. But, after more than a handful of expenses, Kittanning Borough will only profit about $336,400.