Mayor of Monessen asks for time to make the city prosper | Local News

MONESSEN — Since Ron Moser became mayor, he has said his goal has been to make the city prosper again.

At Thursday’s board meeting — Moser’s 24th day in office — he asked for time to help achieve that goal. He also stressed that he had no intention of bringing the city into Law 47 status.

“Give me a chance – that’s all I ask,” Moser said on Thursday. “I have no intention of going to Act 47. It’s not my intention, it never was, it never will be.”

Law 47 of 1987, the Municipal Financial Recovery Law, was enacted to provide an extensive program of fiscal management oversight, technical assistance, planning and financial aid to municipalities in serious financial difficulty.

Michael Foreman, Local Government Policy Specialist from the Department of Community and Economic Development, was on hand to explain the difference between the Strategic Management Planning Program (STMP) and Bill 47.

“The Strategic Planning Program was created in 2008 as a mechanism or tool or instrument to try to prevent and mitigate communities from falling into greater financial distress that would bring them into our Act 47 program,” a- he declared. “This STMP program offers a community in partnership with us the opportunity to implement recommendations that the city can use to advance its current situation.”

STMP offers matching grants to help municipalities experiencing financial difficulties develop comprehensive multi-year financial plans and set short- and long-term financial goals.

“The town of Monessen has not asked, and I don’t think they will anytime soon (Act 47),” Foreman said. “My feeling is that we will be working across the city with the strategic management planning program going forward.”

Moser said challenges lie ahead, but he has plans to help the city move forward.

“It will never be the steel town it once was again, but it can be much better than it is today,” Moser said. “I can’t remember the last capital project done in Monessen that wasn’t funded by (Community Block Development Grant). We need to change that. We need to find new ways to move this city forward, new taxes to move it forward.

Moser said he faced great challenges upon taking office. {

“It was a blow to find out that we had something under $19,000 and a payroll the next day of around $80,000,” Moser said. “I called Mike Foreman and he said it’s an emergency, you have no choice but to borrow money from the line use fund. Against our lawyer’s recommendation , with a lot of care that he gave us, this advice individually came into play to arrive at the payroll and that was through the line use fund.Since then we exist on collecting garbage. That’s how we pay all the bills we’re paying right now.

Moser stressed that the city remains in serious financial peril, but said he was giving it until the end of the year to provide good, stable government. If it does not happen by then, he will take responsibility for it.

“I really want this town to survive,” he said. “I want it to survive, prosper and prosper.”

Councilman Don Gregor said he would give a Moser a chance.

“I think we should give you an opportunity,” Gregor said. “You seem to understand the situation well. I am more than willing to work with you to make this happen.

Moser presented a budget for 2022 at Thursday’s meeting. The spending plan lists revenue at $5,833,528 and expenses at $5,643,014. The mileage will remain at 43.11 mills, which means there will be no tax increase.

The budget presented Thursday gives the necessary time to review the spending plan. The budget will be up for adoption when council meets again on February 10.

Earlier this month, the new council approved last year’s budget so it could spend money until a new spending plan could be approved. A budget was not approved by December 31 because it had not been announced by a date that would have allowed the public sufficient time to review it.

According to state law, the city has until Feb. 15 to change or correct the spending plan.

Additionally, council unanimously approved a motion to announce a new city administrator at a starting annual salary of $50,000 to $65,000, depending on experience.

The city has been without a director since John Harhai retired on December 31.

“We have to do it quickly,” Moser said. “This town is drowning without any help.”

Before someone is hired, interim options are explored.

Jason Dailey submitted a proposal to handle the task on an interim basis and addressed the board at Thursday’s meeting.

Dailey said he has experience as a municipal manager and most recently served as utility manager in Cranberry Township.

“My proposal is to provide hours throughout the week on the administrative side to resolve the issues that you have discussed,” Dailey said. “A lot of things that you deal with on a daily basis are really the responsibility of a city administrator.”

He said his rate was $125 an hour with a no-override clause of $6,500 a month.

The Board also unanimously approved the hiring of Marvin Davis as a part-time Code Enforcement Officer. He will be paid $16 an hour. There will be no benefits with the position.

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