Michigan To Appoint Emergency Fiscal Manager For Detroit

English: City seal of Detroit, Michigan.

English: City seal of Detroit, Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DETROIT — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan announced on Friday that the city of Detroit is so snarled in financial woes that the state must appoint an emergency manager to lead it out of disaster.

“There is probably no city that is more financially challenged in the entire United States.  If you look at the quality of services for citizens it’s ranked among the worst.  So we went from the top to the bottom over the last 50 or 60 years,” Mr. Snyder told Detroiters in a town-hall-style meeting that was broadcast live on local television stations across the city.

“It’s time to say we should stop going downhill,” he said.  “There have been many good people that have had many plans, many attempts to turn this around, they haven’t worked.  The way I view it, today is a day to call all hands on deck.”

The state-appointed manager, who could be selected later this month, would ultimately wield powers aimed at swiftly turning around the municipal government’s dire circumstances — powers to cut city spending, change contracts with labor unions, merge or eliminate city departments, urge the sale of city assets and even, if all else failed, to recommend bankruptcy proceedings.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/us/michigan-appoints-emergency-manager-for-detroit.html?hp&_r=0

Cumru Township Won’t Fill Vacant Police Positions

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cumru Township is budgeting for a reduced police force for the first time in at least a decade.

The draft 2013 budget that the township commissioners are scheduled to adopt Tuesday plans for 23 officers, officials said.  That’s how many officers are now on the force but two positions are vacant.

“We’ve had 25 officers for the last 11 years,” police Chief Jed G. Habecker said.

Habecker had planned to fill those two vacancies but commissioners voted 3-2 to table the hirings.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=436646

Twin Valley Considers Shorter School Day

Faced with a projected shortfall of $1.2 million for 2013-14, Twin Valley School District officials met with residents Wednesday to explore trimming costs in ways that students wouldn’t notice.

But administrators acknowledged there was one exception to that goal: a compacted school day.

“This is why you’re all here,” acknowledged Dr. Robert F. Pleis, superintendent.

More than 50 district residents attended the town hall-style meeting at Twin Valley Elementary Center, where a team of administrators detailed cost-cutting options that emerged from focus groups earlier this year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=432046

Reading To Seek State, Court Nod To Hike 2 Taxes

Editor’s note:  Why is Reading’s budget only about twice as large as Pottstown’s budget when the population is 4 times as large?????

Reading, PA    =  88,082 population  /  Budget $80 million proposed by Mayor Spencer  /  $73.4 million proposed by Act 47 consultants

Pottstown, PA = 22,377 population  /  Budget $38 million

Tell me again how there is nothing left to cut from Pottstown’s pork-a-palooza budget!

Reading and its outside state-paid consultants are planning a new push to get state approval for higher commuter and earned income taxes, to bail out the city’s 2013 budget that’s millions of dollars from being balanced.

Otherwise, the city will have to cut still more staff and critical operations, hike property taxes by 15 percent and levy a streetlight assessment.

“This budget will not work,” Councilman Jeffrey S. Waltman said of the $73.4 million proposal during Saturday’s eighth budget session.

Waltman said the staff and program eliminations the city’s had to make over recent years are like getting a slow drip of cyanide that’s killing city services.  The city is down 150 jobs over a few years ago.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=422363

Reading School District Budget Outlook Not Good

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School District isn’t likely to get any relief from the financial straits that have led the district to cut programs, layoff staff and close schools.

Robert Peters, the district’s chief financial officer, provided the school board with an initial overview of the district’s 2013-14 budget process at a meeting Wednesday night. And the outlook doesn’t appear good.

The district, like others across the state, will yet again be facing increasing expenses with little hope of jumps in revenue.

Peters said increases in pension contributions will probably cost the district about an extra $2.5 million next year, and health care costs will likely increase somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=421733

Budget Crisis Forces Staff Cuts In Many Berks County School Districts

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attrition.

It’s a word that has no doubt become quite familiar to school board members across Berks County as they look to shed expenses.

And the No. 1 expense for a school district? Personnel.

Cutting staff is a tough choice, but one many Berks school districts have faced. In all, 15 districts have said they will trim their ranks for the 2012-13 year.

Because cutting jobs has a big impact on people’s lives, attrition has become the preferred method.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=389391

Allentown School Taxes Could Rise Nearly 5%

English: View of Allentown, Pa from Keck Park

English: View of Allentown, Pa from Keck Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allentown School Board on Thursday approved a proposed $235 million spending plan for 2012-13 that includes a nearly 5 percent tax hike.

The board’s 8-1 vote means a property owner’s tax bill would rise about $86, to $1,890, on a home assessed at the district’s $37,500 average. The millage rate would go up 2.3 mills to about 50.4.

Superintendent Russ Mayo faulted Gov. Tom Corbett for shifting a greater financial burden on school districts.

He said the governor’s proposed state budget for 2012-13 has about $100 million less for kindergarten, tutoring and class-size programs. That’s on top of the $900 million in school funding he cut statewide in 2011-12.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-school-budget-0524-20120525,0,4061905.story

Reading Schools Budget Fiasco Blamed On Mismanagement

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy to see that the Reading School District has some major problems.

A $53 million budget gap. Claims of nepotism and favoritism. Local, state and federal investigations.

But how far does the dysfunction go?

The Reading Eagle has conducted an investigation of the district leadership, looking at issues ranging from finances to contracts to hiring practices. The results show a pattern of behavior that is at best neglectful and wasteful.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=383087

More Than 100 Positions On Chopping Block At Easton Area School District

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Easton Area School District could cut more than 100 positions if it chooses not to raise taxes for the 2012-13 school year.

Facing a deficit of more than $8 million without a tax increase, the administration Wednesday unveiled the details of cuts associated with tax increases of 2.2 percent, 1.7 percent and zero percent. All of the budget plans include using $1.5 million from the district’s assigned reserves.

Even with a 2.2 percent tax hike, the maximum allowed by the state, the district would cut more than 40 teaching positions, 27 paraprofessionals and 10 maintenance positions in order to balance its 2012-13 budget.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-easton-school-budget-options-20120404,0,2495016.story

Fleetwood School District Cuts Could Be Deep, Wide

Proposed staff cuts in the Fleetwood School District aimed at balancing the budget would primarily impact elective courses at the high school and speciality classes at the middle and elementary schools, district officials confirmed Friday.

The proposed cuts, which will be unveiled publicly at Tuesday’s school board meeting, include laying off three teachers and six support staff members, demoting seven teachers to part time and axing the district’s wrestling program. Four more teaching positions would be eliminated through attrition.

The school board will ultimately decide whether to go forward with the changes intended to help the district close a gap of at least $847,000 in its $38.6 million 2012-13 budget.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370277

Tamaqua Borough Council Makes Tough Decisions Rather Than Raise Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

Image via Wikipedia

Tamaqua, PA Borough Council decided it did not want to raise taxes to offset a $200,000 deficit in the 2012 budget.  (Imagine that idea Pottstown Borough Council)

And so, the cuts began.

Council eliminated random drug tests for borough police officers, dropped the DARE anti-drug program in schools for a year, laid off a police officer and deciding not to fill a vacancy in the streets department.

Council also hopes selling what one official called an underutilized community center will help balance the budget.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/mayor-center-s-sale-would-be-loss-1.1260511#ixzz1k872u0SE

York City Residents Worry About 17 Percent Tax Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Image via Wikipedia

York City home and business owners will pay 17 percent more in property taxes this year following the Saturday morning conclusion of a long and bitter debate over the city’s financial future.

That’s on top of an 11 percent increase this year. By far, city residents pay more in property taxes than residents of any other York County municipality.

For the owner of a $50,000 house, the tax bill will increase by $149.50 to a total of $1,018.50.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/news/ci_19659779

Scranton’s Leaders Brace For 2012 Staff Cuts

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty’s reaction to staff cuts contained in city council’s 2012 budget was simple.

“We will do more with less,” Mr. Doherty said Wednesday, reflecting on how his administration plans to grapple with looming personnel reductions after lawmakers on Tuesday night overrode his veto of their $85.3 million 2012 budget.

Despite a wide-ranging list of cuts – including 29 firefighter layoffs proposed by Mr. Doherty himself – the mayor maintained there could be delays in nonessential services, but stressed garbage collection will continue uninterrupted.

“We have to live in the budget they give us,” said Mr. Doherty. “We are going to make it work.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/scranton-s-leaders-brace-for-2012-staff-cuts-1.1250766#ixzz1i37DSzKa

Junk Flyers Make Their Way To Pottstown’s North End

Someone went through our complex today slapping Rupert flyers in the hallways of the buildings.  The hallways were just painted and the wet paint signs are still hanging up!

There are only six apartments in this complex out of one hundred and four with elementary school age children according to our Leasing Manager.  Most people who live here are senior citizens or do not have children.  That was a complete waste of time and paper.  So thanks for junking up our hallways with your flyers!

As for the proposed sale of Franklin School to a group who will open a private high school for problem teens, we all saw the article in The Fishwrap so photocopying it on a flyer and littering up the North End was a waste of time and paper.  I DO NOT see that concept getting approved.  Scare tactics!

If you want to get behind the real problem in Pottstown you should be focused on drugs and crime related to drugs.  That is doing more damage to Pottstown than any elementary school closing will ever do!

UPDATE!  Many thanks to SavePottstown!! for investing this matter and reporting it to the authorities!

http://savepottstown.com/lang/es/2011/07/criminals-on-the-run/

Additional Update – Today’s Fishwrap includes coverage of the Pottstown School District Finance Committee meeting that was held on Thursday evening.  Evan reports that the board showed little interest in selling the Annex to Delaware Valley High School to educate “troubled” Reading teenagers.  Dr. Lindley revealed that he did not give a tour of Franklin School to the DVHS group.  Dr. Lindley told the DVHS group that Pottstown does not have the need for this type of program for our own students.  So as you see, now that the facts are presented this whole hysterical campaign about Franklin School was just that…hysterical.  It would be nice if we gave Dr. Lindley and the School Board some credit for having a brain before rushing to incorrect conclusions and whooping the community into a frenzied lather over something that was never going to happen!

Pottstown School Board News

Mr. Hylton’s latest scheme was crushed at the voting meeting of the Pottstown School Board on Thursday evening.  Mr. Hylton’s plan to chop a huge number of support staff from the school district was opposed 6-3.  Even BFF Dennis Wausnock voted against Hylton’s slash and burn budget proposal.  Only Valerie Harris and Nat White voted to support Hylton BUT Ms. Harris said she wouldn’t necessarily vote for additional staff cuts.

Are you getting a clue yet Tom???  By now it should be starting to sink in that your “ideas” and “fixes” are unpopular to say the least.

Anybody ready to take back their vote for Hylton yet?

Evidently these “stunts” are what we have to look forward to during Mr. Hylton’s tenure on the school board.  Pretty soon it will be 8 – 1 opposed.  His friends are fading fast.