by Jonathan Weaver
The budget numbers Kittanning Borough council members agreed to advertise in December will stand through 2016.
Borough Council members were to discuss the $2.6 million budget again during last night’s regular meeting, but a lack of quorum prevented discussion on that topic or any other voting matters.
All three Finance Committee members – President Kim Fox, Vice-President Wilbur Stitt, and Chris Schiano –were absent from the meeting. It was chaired by President Pro Tempore David Croyle. Also Councilman Andy Peters was absent.
Croyle was “very disappointed” that more discussion could not be held.
“It is an important part of running this borough,” Croyle said. “I’m sad we couldn’t take action on that item as well as many, many other items.”
The four present council members originally discussed convening again at 6PM tomorrow evening, but after meeting with Borough Secretary Betty Thompson, Solicitor Ty Heller thought it best to reschedule after 48 hours to allow for the rescheduled meeting to be properly advertised.
A proposed revised budget would have had to be advertised 10 days before its adoption – which could not be done without meeting this week due to the mid-February deadline.
If a quorum was available, Council could have seen supposed-savings found in the Street Department and Codes Department, but those budgets will now remain unchanged.
Still, taxpayers will not see any tax hikes, realizing the same 27.5 mill rate as in 2015.
Council members reluctantly settled on 6PM February 9.
At last month’s reorganization, Councilwoman Betsy Wilt made the motion to reopen the 2016 funding plan – and all council members in attendance agreed with her. And a week later, five council members unanimously approved a $250,000 tax anticipation loan resolution to aid with upcoming expenses and a projected shortfall.
Last month, Fox and Stitt also agreed that ongoing union negotiations are vital to continue attempts to revise the budget.
In addition to the budget, Councilman Gerald Shuster was also concerned about pending votes on other pressing matters. He said he has never been a Kittanning Borough councilman that had to postpone a regular meeting due to lack of a quorum.
“There are some areas to be covered that I think should not be postponed,” Shuster said. “Some of these are too critical to the community.”
Also on the agenda last night was discussion on the upcoming Fort Armstrong Folk Festival, the vacant 2nd Ward Constable position and the Floodplain Management ordinance being passed by several local municipalities
However, Heller said the rescheduled meeting will allow the ordinance to be passed on-time before the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s February 17 deadline since it has already been advertised.
A broad examination of the new maps showed last night that there is not a major change from the floodplain boundaries released in 1986.
Interested residents can see the new boundaries in Council Chambers during normal business hours throughout the week.