The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 25, 2013

City nixes official’s pay hike request

SHENANGO VALLEY — Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday voted down a request to increase the salary of the elected treasurer and tax collector.

Messages left with the official, Bernie Telega Harry, were not returned.

The position of tax collector is shared with Hermitage School District and Mercer County commissioners, and the other bodies could effectively nullify the city commissioners’ action by voting for a pay hike.

However, school board members did not mention the request at their meeting Tuesday, and are not scheduled to hold a meeting at which they would vote until Feb. 19, which is four days after the deadline for setting the position’s compensation

The salary cannot be changed to affect a sitting treasurer-tax collector, and can only take effect with the position’s next four-year term.

Harry is completing her second term and the position is up for election in November.

City Commissioner William J. Moder III said he believes the tax collector salary of $26,055 and treasurer salary of $6,000 are adequate, and noted that Harry receives the same benefits and pension as a full-time city employee.

But, Moder said, he does not consider the position to be equivalent to that of a city employee.

“It’s not a salary,” he said. “It’s compensation for a position that’s elected.”

Commissioner Duane J. Piccirilli said his no vote did not reflect what he thinks of Harry or the job she does.

He added that he wanted the board to publicly vote on the issue, even though the commissioners simply could have ignored it.

“We owed it to the taxpayers of the city to do a public vote, yes or no,” Piccirilli said. “Whatever the outcome, people needed to know where we stood on the issue. To do nothing would have been wrong and unfair to everyone.”

The board members voted unanimously.

The tax collector collects real estate, per capita and business license taxes, and the treasurer makes bank deposits, signs checks, reconciles bank statements and submits monthly reports, said City Manager Gary P. Hinkson. The position oversees two finance department employees, he said.

The tax collector salary has been the same since 2005 and the treasurer compensation has not changed since 2002, Hinkson said.

In a letter to commissioners, Harry asked for a wage hike and annual cost of living increase. If each position’s salaries had been raised by 3 percent a year – which is about what city unionized employees have been getting – over eight years, the combined salary would have been just more than $40,000, which she said “would be more in line with the other employees in this office and closer to that of other department heads.”

The job comes with “a great deal of responsibility,” she said, and has grown with changes in school tax collection options and the city, school district and county granting a tax incremental financing plan to Levey and Co., Akron, Ohio, for a retail development.

Once Levey completes construction and the property at the Shenango Valley Freeway and South Hermitage Road is assessed for tax purposes, the taxing bodies will divert 69 percent of new property taxes to pay off a loan issued for public improvements over 20 years.

Harry also said she plans to seek another term.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo