Kittanning Takes Next Step in Creating Financial Plan

Michael Foreman (right) answers questions from Councilman Joe Kiehlmier (left) about the Early Intervention Program at last night’s Kittanning Borough Council meeting.

After nine months of discussion, Kittanning Borough approved a resolution last night that will help them create a five-year financial management plan.

Regional Local Government Policy Specialist Michael Foreman, who represents the Southwest Regional Office of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development office in Pittsburgh, explained to council members the next step in the Early Intervention Program (EIP).

Michael Foreman urged Kittanning Borough Council to submit an application for grant funding to pay for consultants to develop a five-year financial plan.

“The next step in this process is for the Borough to put together an online application for grant funding,” Foreman said.

Council had solicited bids from companies to prepare a five-year- financial management plan. One firm, Grass Root Solutions from Pittsburgh, submitted a proposal. Their firm would provide financial condition assessment, an emergency plan for current fiscal year, a management operational review, and a multi-year plan for implementing strategies. Their assessment would identify key areas that need to be addressed in order for the Borough to become financially stable.

The cost of the service would be $53,875. Foreman said that if Kittanning can prove hardship, the Borough would only be required to pay as little as ten-percent of the cost rather than the 50-percent normally required.

Foreman urged Council to prepare a 1,000-word statement of condition, showing hardships.

“Most commonly, these are things like your tax base is not growing; you have unmet infrastructure needs such as storm water issues; or you have challenges with road reconstruction,” Foreman said.

The Borough in the past year has paid more than $70,000 to fix storm sewer issues on North Water Street, and there are similar issues in other parts of town. Fair Street’s paving work last Fall could only receive a limited maintenance bond because of the poor condition of the base under the roadway.

Ford City entered into the Early Intervention Program in 2014. They have been progressing in their five-year financial plan and now are in the midst of finishing a comprehensive plan for the town at a cost of more than $90,000.

Grass Roots Solutions have been providing consulting services since 2010 to many municipalities. Most recently, in 2018, they completed a plan for the Borough of Petrolia.

Councilman Joe Kiehlmeier has provided leadership for the plan.

“We need to identify where we are in these areas so we can begin to fix the problems,” he said.