By Jonathan Weaver
Kittanning Borough taxpayers will be saving money in 2015 after Borough Council repealed the per capita tax and passed a balanced budget for next year.
Motioned by Councilman David Croyle and seconded by Councilman Ange Turco, the $2.6 million spending plan was unanimously passed earlier this month.
Council President Randy Cloak was proud to sign the ordinance repealing the $10 tax along with Mayor Kirk Atwood.
“Kittanning Borough’s the highest taxed municipality in the county. I’m proud to be from Kittanning, and I think we need to give people reasons to come to Kittanning,” Cloak said. “Having the most deplorable infrastructure and the highest tax rate don’t go together – people want to see something for what they’re paying for.
“And I think if we continue the road we’re on, my hope is to decrease our millage rate next year. It’s all in how you manage the budget and prioritizing the projects.”
Cloak explained that saving the approximately-$150,000 remaining in loan funds and repaving Jacob Street in Summer 2015 rather than now, it will enable the municipality to pave other problem spots. And he credited each department head for maximizing their individual budgets well.
“It’s significant – we’re in hard economic times, and we’ve made it work,” Cloak said. “It’s a testament to the employees here as well. It’s not just the (council members) sitting at the table, but the people that come to work here every day. Nobody’s spending money that’s not necessary to spend.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in 2014 and hope we accomplish much more in 2015.”
The budget even includes $18,000 of additional revenue – after the sale or real estate and equipment – to account for reimbursement of police overtime
With the savings incurred, council members allocated $23,000 more in funding toward a new police cruiser and $33,000 in major equipment likely a pick-up truck to be utilized by Street Department employees.
Police Chief Bruce Mathews might also have a new officer on the streets next year after civil service exams begin today.
The last tax increase – of three mills – went into effect January 1, 2012. Cloak has still seen taxes double since the 1990’s when he started on council and aimed not to increase them anymore.
The tax rate will remain at 27.5 mills