Curwensville Borough Facing Budget Shortfall, Still Considering Patrolman Layoff

CURWENSVILLE – After some minor revisions, Curwensville Borough is now looking at a $938,242 total expenditure for this year while only having a $876,783 income, resulting in a $61,459 deficit.

During its budget meeting Monday night, council members stuck with the proposed solution that was proposed last week. Council decided that although it’s not preferred, the best solution would be to lay off a patrolman this year. The borough would, then, be able to afford a patrolman next year. This option would allow for a roughly $9,000 surplus.

The alternative, which was also suggested at last Tuesday’s meeting, was the possibility of laying off a road crew member. But it fell through for two reasons.

“The public outcry would be larger if we laid off a road crew (member),” said Council President Mark Curulla

Also, due to the winter season, council feared that the public would be more angry about the snow covered roads than its decision to reduce the borough patrolmen by half.

The second reason was due to the contract differences. A single patrolman lay off would work for canceling out the deficit, as the salary and benefits adds up to more than $70k for both patrolmen. The road crew’s union contracts require that the borough continue to pay for its insurance even while laid off.

While the council hopes to get the union to give some on the contracts, members also mentioned Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a possibility if that doesn’t work.

According to Curulla, it might be the last year that Curwensville will qualify for a general note. He said the borough will likely have to resort to tax participation notes afterward. He said if Curwensville is to make headway by 2011, it ideally should not only be breaking even, but also saving up a surplus of around $25,000 to $30,000 a year.

Other budgetary issues included two of the road crew’s vehicles. The larger truck is over 18 years old. Due to its age, it takes three months to get certain parts, such as the back end. The 1997 vehicle is now showing signs of rust on the front end. A proposed solution was to get used military vehicles like Lawrence Township, when it’s time to replace them.

To help with future budgeting, the council will begin splitting it up into departments, and each will have its own budget with income and expense records.

The preliminary budget will be voted on at a Dec. 1 meeting.

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