Category: Ford City

Mayor Veto Necessitates Special Ford City Meeting

During the December 29th Ford City Borough special meeting, council members unanimously passed the tax ordinance keeping taxes at 17.4 mills. However, Mayor Marc Mantini has vetoed that ordinance due to council’s decision to eliminate police funding in the process of keeping taxes stable.

 by Jonathan Weaver

Last week, Ford City Borough Mayor Marc Mantini vetoed Ford City Borough Council’s 2015 tax ordinance.

At the December 29 special meeting, council members voted unanimously (5-0) not to raise taxes and keep the tax rate at 17.4 mills without much discussion. Council members also adopted the $7.5 million budget at that meeting.

“I’m against it – I believe the citizens of the community were left shorthanded in terms of (police) protection,” Mayor Mantini said. “I’m against what (Council) did to the police department.”

Since the beginning of the month, Mayor Mantini said the full-time police department has struggled after Council decimated the public safety portion of the 2015 funding plan.

“They dismantled a good police department,” Mayor Mantini said. “It’s horrible what happened here – I’ve never (seen) morale this low.”

Police Committee Chairwoman Vickie Schaub said she has seen Pennsylvania State Police troopers from the Kittanning barracks patrolling the municipality during shifts not able to be covered by full-time Police Sgts. John Atherton or Mark Brice or any part-time officers remaining on the active roster.

“I haven’t heard any negative (responses) from anybody,” Schaub said. “I understand why (residents) want 24-hour coverage, but I refuse to raise taxes for wages.”

Borough Manager Eden Ratliff and other members of Borough Council have tentatively set up a special public meeting for 7AM Saturday morning to address the mayor’s veto.

The meeting will be held at the Ford City Borough office – which is usually closed on weekends. The office is open 8:30AM-4PM Monday through Friday.

“Having a conversation with (council members), it seems as though they are looking to override the mayor’s veto of the 2015 tax ordinance,” Ratliff said. “My understanding from (Borough Solicitor Anthony Vigilante) is that we can only spend money on regular reoccurring bills and payroll until the 2015 tax ordinance is adopted.

(Currently) anything the Council may want to do, any expenses that might come up that aren’t regular or payroll we would not be able to pay for because of this veto.”

He said he has not heard any disapproval from local residents about the tax ordinance adopted.

“I think that the citizens of Ford City are very pleased that the current elected council members are keeping the taxes at the same rate rather than raising them,” Ratliff said.

According to the most recent additions to the Pennsylvania Borough Code, Council has until midnight Sunday to meet regarding the veto since Mayor Mantini submitted his veto on Thursday, January 15. At least five of the six council votes are needed to override the veto. If not, Ratliff said other action will be needed.

“If, after reconsideration, a majority of all elected council members plus one votes to override the mayor’s veto, the ordinance shall have full force and effect as if it had received the approval of the mayor,” the codebook reads.

Since the 2015 budget was not adopted via ordinance, it was not subject to approval by Mayor Mantini – only by a majority of council members.

The special meeting may be rescheduled in an effort to have a majority of the six-member council present.

Taxes were raised three-quarters of a mill at the end of 2013 .75 mills – a .50 mill replacement for the fire department’s use and .25 for street lighting taxes.

 

 

 

 

Time Extended at Route 66 Crosswalk

The designated pedestrian crosswalk so residents can walk across Route 66 to shop at Riverside Quality Foods and Manor Furniture will now allow some extra time.

 by Jonathan Weaver

A potential disaster to Ford City and Manor Township walkers crossing Route 66 at the Riverside Intersection (near Riverside Quality Foods and Manor Furniture) may have been averted.

Manor Township Supervisor Pat Fabian said the walk signal will increase to allow walkers a maximum of 32 seconds to cross the highway – an increase of six seconds.

The increase came after Ford City Borough Manager Eden Ratliff and Borough Council Representative Vicki Schaub penned a letter to Manor Township officials that, due to Spagnolo’s Foodland closing in July, residents are now crossing the five-lane Route 66 to buy groceries at Riverside Meats.

“A lot of our citizens – including some of our more senior citizens – are crossing that intersection with walkers, wheelchairs, electric scooters, and even with the walk signal for them to cross, it’s just not long enough for them to get across the intersection,” Ratliff said in October. “There’s not much we can do about it since its Manor Township property, so we would like a traffic study done to see if there’s a way to improve pedestrian crossing there.

“We feel like it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

Last week, Ratliff was excited to hear the timing was increased.

“That is fantastic – I am very glad to hear that!” Ratliff exclaimed. “I’m not sure if that should be the permanent solution, but I’m glad to hear that at least a change was made due to the traffic study. We appreciate Manor Township’s help with this.”

Before the traffic study, Township Supervisor Paul Rearick himself timed the walk signal at at-best 11 seconds, and agreed to ask PennDOT for the traffic study, as well as paint crosswalks.

In October, Ratliff said Borough Council members would consider paying for at least some if there are any expenses associated.