The details reveal difficulty of city’s 2019 budget puzzle

The pertinent numbers on the Campana administration’s proposed city budget for 2019 are in and they none of them are pretty.

The budget calls for another tax increase, this time 0.65 mills on real estate.

The budget calls for four fewer policemen.

And even with those less than savory moves, the city will end the year with a mere $107,497 fund balance.

A combination of factors has the city in a budget vice annually.

The tax base remains stagnant, as it has been for years.

Employee costs such as health care continue to rise.

The city’s pension obligations for retired policemen, firemen and officers and employees require a minimum $500,000 annual allocation.

The bottom line is that about 80 percent of the city’s budget is pretty much locked in.

That won’t change without fresh vision and cooperative minds.

The city has the only paid fire department in Lycoming County and the largest paid police force by far.

It would seem a regional arrangement of some kind in both those areas would be beneficial to many municipal causes, both in the city and around it.

But that takes willing minds and practical vision.

So far that has not happened.

Our guess is it will happen when the budget woes of the city begin to visit other municipalities.

Until then – and in the immediate future – City Council is left to deal with a difficult budget puzzle.

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