Just when I thought that I and other Orwigsburg residents were going to get a break on our monthly bills, Orwigsburg Council decided to wave their collective finger like Dikembe Mutumbo and reject the proposed sale of the borough water/sewage system to Schuylkill County Municipal Authority. In a 4-3 vote on Wednesday night, Susan L. Murphy, Steven J. Zimmerman, John M. Rehrig and council President Charles J. Sterner prevailed in their attempt to keep costs high for borough residents so that they don’t have to trim the budget.
“We, as a council, have not yet come up with a financial plan to make up the $200,000 shortfall we’ll have in our general budget if we lose the water and sewer budget,” Zimmerman said before the vote. “I don’t think we should consider the proposal until we have a plan in place.”
Well, that’s great, Steve. You don’t feel like tightening the borough’s belt, so the rest of us are stuck tightening ours. Yep, local government at its finest! If the proposal had gone through, it would have saved borough residents approximately $250.00 per year right away and negated the need for Blue Mountain School District to raise taxes to keep up with increased costs. The three dissenting council members, Daniel K. Strausser, David Lafko and Michele Rudloff, found that the benefits of lower costs on its citizens outweighed the annoyance of having to actually DO THEIR JOBS by finding things to cut in the borough budget to make up for the shortfall. At least this town still has three leaders who care about the financial welfare of its constituency.
There is still hope, though. The voters of Orwigsburg will have a chance to overrule their council’s decision via referendum in November. In order to earn a place on the ballot, 10% of Orwigsburg’s residents must sign a petition in favor of the deal. So says borough solicitor Frank Tamulonis.
So, let me take this opportunity inform you all that I will be drafting such a petition and circulating it over the next few weeks. If you live in the borough and are willing to sign or to help circulate it, please leave a comment for me under this article. Remember to list your e-mail address, so that I can get a hold of you directly.
We can still make this happen!