The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 9, 2013

Act 47 exit plan gets first public hearing

FARRELL — Tonight’s the night for Farrell residents to voice their opinion about the direction the city’s heading.

A special council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and council and residents will hear from City Manager Michael Ceci about the city’s new Act 47 recovery plan, which will lay out a way for the city to move beyond the state program for financially distressed communities.

Farrell was the first community to be helped by the program 26 years ago and it could be one of the few to exit it solvent if it follows recommendations to reign in spending and increase taxes over the next few years.

Or it could elect to stay with the status quo as the state’s signature Act 47 community.

“I think the big thing is, even if you don’t try to get out of Act 47, the things we can’t control (expenses) are going to cause us to have to raise taxes,” Ceci said.

The costs of police protection, health care and retirement are out of the city’s direct control and those costs account for more than half of the city’s annual budget of about $2.8 million, Ceci said.

Being an Act 47 community allows the city to levy a nonresident wage tax of 1.4 percent. The rate is generally capped at 1 percent, with 0.5 percent going to the school district.

To exit the Act 47 program, the city would have to decrease that tax rate fourth-tenths of a percent to 1 percent, a reduction of about $250,000 of revenue each year, according to Ceci.

During tonight’s meeting, Ceci will detail the city’s finances and include projections through 2017 so that council members can make informed decisions about the plan.

“We’ll be in a position to at least address people’s concerns,” Ceci said.

He’s also hoping council will authorize him to seriously explore shared services and/or consolidation with neighboring municipalities as part of an overall exploration of how to best cut costs, he said.

Ceci’s also seeking a study of the cost-effectiveness of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department.

The more than $1 million the city pays Southwest for police protection each year is by far the largest line item in the city’s budget.

That study is “not supposed to be divisive,” Ceci said, adding he hopes such a study would help council decide how best to provide police protection.

Farrell has been an Act 47 city since 1987, when the city’s largest employer and financial lifeblood, Sharon Steel Corp., started its slide into oblivion.

Greenville is the only other Mercer County municipality that’s an Act 47 community.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • Bus cameras will be listening, too

    Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.

    April 24, 2014

  • Union, city OK 4-year contract

    Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.

    April 24, 2014

  • 2 principals to be hired

    Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page