NEW CASTLE —
If it isn’t broken, don’t break it.
That’s essentially what a committee made up of New Castle city officials decided in exploring whether the city should pursue a home rule charter.
After studying the pros and cons of placing a question on the ballot for the last few months, the committee recommended against pursuing the idea.
Formation of the committee was a directive in the city’s Act 47 financial recovery plan. A major reason for doing so was that it would provide the city more flexibility with its taxes, and overcome one hurdle to exit Act 47 status.
Act 47 gives the city the ability to have a wage tax above the state limit of 1 percent on city residents. The tax now is at 2.15 percent and generates about $2.5 million in revenue.
If the city were no longer under Act 47, it would have to lower the tax to 1 percent and, therefore, lose the $2.5 million in revenue it desperately needs. However, the city could impose a tax above the state limit through a home rule charter that would have to be approved by the voters.
While city officials like that aspect of home rule, they believe the process has some drawbacks.
Once a government study commission would be approved by the voters, city officials would have no control over the process. Although the city’s intent may be to only consider taxes, the commission would have wide latitude to look at other aspects of the government.
In fact, a study commission would not be obligated to even consider lifting the ceiling on the wage tax.
But the commission would have the authority to recommend changing from the current mayor-council form of government to something else. And that’s a key concern for city officials.
One point worthy of note in the committee’s report of its study is that there is no sentiment in the community to pursue certain changes over others. Actually, there is no community sentiment to make any changes, including changing the form of government that has been in existence since 1968.
So, it appears New Castle will be under Act 47 status for some time to come. And what is wrong with that? Act 47 has provided the city with financial stability over the last five years, something that would not have occurred otherwise.
NEW CASTLE —
If it isn’t broken, don’t break it.
Mitchel Olszak: Observing the stock market prompts lots of confusion
A casual observer of Wall Street may conclude investors in American stocks are insane. Perhaps that’s because many of them are. Or at least their financial decisions appear to support this contention.
John K. Manna: Party labels shouldn’t matter in local contests
Anything is possible in elections, but often improbable when it comes to school board races in Pennsylvania. In the Nov. 5 election, voters went to the polls in six of the eight school districts in Lawrence County and were faced with little choice.
Dave Ramsey: Where to keep the emergency fund?
“Dave Says” is a weekly column featuring financial advice from nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey. His column is filled with timely, relevant questions and answers taken from actual letters and calls on Ramsey’s radio progam, “The Dave Ramsey Show.”
Mitchel Olszak: Personal skepticism is best defense against scams
The caller said she had been targeted by a telephone scam. She wanted me to put something in the paper to warn others. I asked if she had contacted police about the matter.
John K. Manna: State finally has road, bridge repair plan
Pennsylvania finally has a program in place to fix roads and bridges and provide more money for mass transit. The massive undertaking — pushed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett — will cost about $2.3 million per year, most of which will be paid by motorists in the form of increases in gas prices at the pump and fees.
Culinary Conversation: Authors share recipes deer to them
If you want the most knowledgeable information about a subject, go to the authority. In this case, the expert on cooking with venison — deer meat — is Ellwood City’s Steve Loder. He and his wife, Gale, are the authors of “Quality Venison Cookbook — Great Recipes from the Kitchen of Steve and Gale Loder.”
John K. Manna: Three former governors give their endorsements
Another election is history, which means another election campaign season is under way. Actually, some Democratic candidates running in next year’s gubernatorial contest couldn’t wait and began campaigning months before this year’s election.
Culinary Conversation: My, oh my, it’s pie!
Making a pie crust can result in one of two things. You’ll either be remembered as the king or queen every time the word pastry is mentioned. Or you won’t. For some, that age-old cliché “easy as pie” is not that simple.
Mitchel Olszak: Autumn becomes the time to report for leaf duty
This time of year, I find myself frequently looking skyward. I’m not pondering the clouds, anticipating snow or scanning for NSA drones. Rather, I’m looking at the trees.
Culinary Conversation: Time to plan Thanksgiving meal
The calendar doesn’t lie. Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Then planning begins for all the other holiday meals. I have already made up a list of what we’re making on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s a frenzy of preparation and two days of baking and cooking, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
- More Columns Headlines
- Mitchel Olszak: Observing the stock market prompts lots of confusion