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The View From My Recliner

Here we go, another Tuesday and today, I have very little on my mind.
I think I got a lot off of it on Saturday.
What does it take for people to get involved? Last night, there were five people at the Tyrone Borough Council meeting. Three residents of the borough and two reporters. What a sad display.
There is a public comment session before every borough council meeting, school board meeting and township supervisors meeting. This is your chance to speak your peace to your elected officials.
Let’s put it this way, I am no math whiz, but as I looked through the budget passed by Tyrone Borough Council last night, all is good for 2003, but what happens in 2004.
We’ll break the numbers down in the way the budgets are made, General fund, Water fund and Sewer fund.
General Fund
The borough will finish 2002 with a cash reserve of $1,368,000. The borough has estimated incoming revenues of $1,510,000 for 2003, for a grand total of cash and revenue in the General fund of $2,878,000.
Part of that money is $129,000 in federal and state revenue. With a change in the governor’s office, will all of that money still be earmarked for Tyrone?
For expenses for 2002, the operating expenses are listed at $1,509,000 which is $1,000 under the operating incoming revenues for 2003.
Under capital improvements for 2003, is $560,000 for general government. Of the $560,000 for general government capital expenses, $500,000 is for exterior repairs and renovation to the Municipal Building. $30,000 is budgeted for updated codification of Borough ordinances and $30,000 is for updating the Borough computer programs from DOS to Windows. Another $583,000 is budgeted for streets and highways, (538,000 for street and storm sewer improvement projects, $45,000 for a new dump truck). There are $200,000 for capital improvements in recreation, park, trees and library. ($200,000 is slated to be matching funds for a CDBG grant for the pool). There is $20,000 budget to replace the car used by the code enforcement officer.
Cash and Revenue — $2,878,000
Expenses — $2,872,000
Balance at end of 2002 — $6,000
There are some things that can make this funding go out of whack. The contract with the police union is in arbitration and the cost of the police budget could go up. If that happens, the General Fund could start 2004 in a deficit.
Water Fund
The water fund starts 2003 with a balance of $540,000 and the borough has budgeted an income of $1,349,000 for a total of cash and revenue of $1,889,000.
The borough has budgeted $1,192,000 in operating expenses and $582,000 in capital expenses for a total of $1,774,000. The total left at the end of the year is $115,000.
Sewer Fund
The borough will start 2003 with $476,000 in reserve. The estimated revenue generated by the Sewer Department is $1,129,000 for a total of cash and revenue of $1,605,000.
The borough has budgeted operating expenses as $1,283,000 and $300,000 of capital expenses for a total of $1,583,000 and a reserve of $22,000 to start 2004.
Just a thought
Does re-election play into the 2003 budget?
In a local election year, council passes a budget with no tax increase, no water rate increase and no sewer rate increase, and $2,245,000 in capital improvements. Nice platform.
What won’t be said in the platform is Tyrone Borough will start 2003 with a total of $2,384,000 in cash reserve of the three various funds and will end 2003 with $143,000.
That is spending $2,241,000 over income. The balance in the budget comes from reserve.
Again, let me remind you that Governor-elect Rendell has made no bones about providing for Philadelphia, so you can’t bank on every state dollar that is budgeted.
Technically, this is not deficit spending. There is money in reserve, which is to be for troubled economic times. We are in troubled economic times, but the reserve is to ease the tax burden on residents, not renovate the Municipal Building.
When the four council members who are up for election in 2003 hit the streets asking for your vote, the first question you should ask is what is the plan for 2004? Will there be increases in taxes, water rates and sewer rates? If the answer you get is no, ask where the money is going to come from?
Tyrone Borough residents can bank on tax, water and sewer increases for 2004. There is no choice.
Again, I say I am no math whiz, but the overall numbers are pretty simple. They add up this year, but next year is a whole different ballgame.

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News

The View From My Recliner

It is all about passion.
You can be the smartest person in the world, you can be the best athlete in the world, but if you don’t have passion for what you are doing, you won’t be successful.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Mayor Pat Stoner has been successful in her run as Tyrone’s mayor, because she is passionate about making Tyrone a better place. The work she has done to get Streetscape from dream to reality has been great. The City Hotel Park is a great improvement over the old City Hotel that was falling in on itself. I have said it to the mayor and many people, I believe that she wakes up every morning and thinks of what she can do to make Tyrone a better place, and is passionate about her mission.
Tyrone football coach John Franco is passionate about coaching football. You can see his love of the game in how he coaches our boys. He works hard to give our boys the best opportunity to win every time they step on the football field. He brought something to Tyrone, that I would have never dreamed of… a state championship in 1999.
There are and were many people in Tyrone who have influenced me because they have had passion. Cary Simpson’s passion for radio rubbed off on me in many ways. The late Barney Mogle’s passion for the Tyrone community is something I learned from and have tried to use in my life. The late Gerry Roberts was passionate about music, another attribute that has rubbed off on me in a good way.
There are many people who has shown passion, but have never been recognized. Those people are part of an outstanding community organization, the Tyrone Area YMCA.
First of all, most people don’t work for a non-profit organization for big bucks, because they aren’t there. The YMCA was successful for so long because of the people inside who make it click. Richard Bishop was a great leader of the organization. From teaching swim lessons to collecting frogs for WTRN Day, Rich Bishop did so much for the Tyrone YMCA to make it better. After Bishop left, it seems the passion isn’t there.
The YMCA is filled with good people. Ann Cushion and Linda Klesius are the leaders of the Children’s Center and their love for children shows when you walk upstairs at the YMCA. There isn’t a day when a hug isn’t given to show the kids there that they are cared about. If there is a thing I miss, it would be my daily trips upstairs and the hugs I received.
The YMCA became a great place because of the passion of people like Barney Mogle and Mike Blaska. It didn’t matter what was going on, Barney and Mike volunteered their time to help make the YMCA succeed.
Unfortunately for the Tyrone YMCA, the person who has been the glue through the recent transitions, Wendi Cushion is leaving. If there is a person who showed a passion for the YMCA, it was Wendi. I know from first hand experience.
When I was acting as the operations director last year at this time, we would have never accomplished nearly as much as we did, without the hard work of Wendi. She learned what it took to make a program be successful. She studied what the people wanted in an instructor. She made sure that everyone who walked inside the YMCA never left without being introduced to something they could use. A parent with a young child was told about the Children’s Center, gymnastics, dance, the youth basketball program, the swimming program or martial arts. She was passionate about making the YMCA successful. It wasn’t about a paycheck.
Many inside the YMCA are there because of their passion, not for a paycheck.
The sad thing is the fact that there are people who are all about the paycheck who push everything backward. People with passion have to work twice as hard to make up for others lack of passion. That is a sad thing.
Walk through any organization there is, and you will find people with passion and also people there to collect a paycheck. Normally, the people there for a paycheck make a heck of a lot more than the passionate ones.
I have been fortunate enough to meet many people in my life who were passionate about what they do. You can spot those who are after the paycheck a mile away. Look when there is any form of publicity. They are out front taking credit for things and never recognize the people who have made it happen.
I thank people like Cary Simpson, Barney Mogle, Pat Stoner and Wendi Cushion for the passion they have brought to making Tyrone a better place. I think we need more people like them in our community.
When we lose them, you hope someone will step up and take their place. When Barney passed away, it left a void in Tyrone that still hasn’t really been filled yet.
When the Mayor leaves, will we have someone who will go to Harrisburg and Washington to fight for what they believe Tyrone needs?
With Wendi leaving the YMCA, who will be the glue to hold things together. I can guarantee where it won’t come from. Who will be the person who knows when everything is scheduled? Who will be the person who has recruited volunteers to coach the kids in basketball? Who will be the person who can tell a parent every little detail about a bill they question? Who will be able to tell parents that putting their children in the YMCA Children’s Center is a great thing and speak from experience.
The financial crisis the YMCA faced could be minor compared to what could happen when the person who knew the inner workings of everything has left. It is easy to ask people to donate to a cause they believe in. The tough part is having someone who can show you why you should believe in that cause.
It is all complete. The current leadership wanted to get rid of a few people who had a passion and held people accountable for their actions. Everyone they wanted out has left. Let’s see how things go, The telling tale of the success of the YMCA will come in the next six months.