GREENVILLE Forum will air borough finances

Borough officials said an auditors' report will give them a clearer picture of the debt they face.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Borough taxpayers who want to know the status of municipal finances should attend a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Greenville High School.
The auditing firm Black, Bashor & amp; Porsch of Sharon will make a public presentation of its findings, said Mayor Clifford Harriger.
The auditors have spent the past several weeks reviewing borough spending for 2000 and 2001. An earlier report showed Greenville had used $500,000 from a $3.5 million bond issue to pay day-to-day operating costs in 2000.
Didn't know: Borough council and the mayor said that they were unaware that the bond money, which was borrowed to help finance recreation and municipal improvements, had been used for that purpose and that the money must be paid back.
Richard S. Houpt, council president, said that repayment could come from a $2.2 million state grant Greenville received in 1999 to help pay for the recreation improvements.
The borough has already drawn down $600,000 from that grant but could draw down more to pay back money taken from the bond issue, Houpt said.
One major fear is that more of the bond money may have been tapped to meet borough expenses in 2001, he said.
The auditors' report will give municipal officials a better picture of just what they can do to resolve the problem, he said.
Budget work: Meanwhile, council is still trying to finalize a budget for 2002.
Council has asked all employees to take a one-year wage freeze, noting that Greenville is facing a $90,000 revenue shortfall.
Police, street and wastewater treatment plant employees have agreed and firefighters said they would go along, but only if mayor and council give up their salaries for the year.
Harriger said council is offering a compromise, telling firefighters they will get the raise mandated in their contract but only for January if they will take a freeze for the following 12 months through January 2003.
It amounts to just under $100 for each of the five full-time firefighters, he said.

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