N. Franklin faces financial deficit

November 14, 2012
Michael S. Foreman, a policy specialist for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, right, explains an early intervention program Wednesday for municipalities facing financial problems to North Franklin supervising Chairman James Huff, left, and Supervisor Silvio Passalacqua. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

North Franklin Township is considering state intervention to avoid declaring financial distress while expecting to end next year with a deficit of more than $100,000.

The financial problems led the board to invite to a budget workshop meeting Wednesday a representative from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to explain the details of the DCED’s municipal financial intervention program.

“This is a very difficult situation that you are facing,” said Michael S. Foreman, a DCED regional policy specialist who attended the workshop.

“I’m not sure you have many options here.”

The board is expected to introduce Nov. 28 a tentative budget showing nearly $1.9 million in expenses, Supervisor Dennis Dydiw said. The financial projections under review by the board indicate next year’s expenditures would leave the township ending that year with a deficit of $108,300, township records indicate. Leading into the new year, the budget numbers show the township suffered a $125,349 drop in tax revenues in 2012, as compared to the previous year, with the biggest loss coming from reduced revenue from earned income taxes.

Meanwhile, the township managed to reduce spending in the police department in 2012 to $601,000, down from $848,000 the previous years, township records show. But, projections expect the department’s costs to rise to $856,000 next year, the records show.

Dydiw said other costs are up across the board.

“I think we need help,” supervising Chairman James Huff said.

Foreman said the DCED does provide such municipalities with a grant, money the township must match to pay for the early intervention program. The cost could run as high as $80,000, he said.

He said North Franklin could have a consultant in place by the spring to perform a fiscal review and develop a 5-year financial management plan. A full report without mandates could follow by August.

“This is a short-term sacrifice for long-term gain,” Foreman said. “I would at least give it serious consideration.”

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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