Sharon mayor looks for cost savings

SHARON, Pa. — Changes in Sharon city government will continue through 2007, according to Mayor Bob Lucas.

In his state of the city address Wednesday, Lucas touched on his goals for the coming year, which include evaluating every position in city government and searching for cost savings.

In his first year in office, the mayor eliminated three positions and is looking for cost savings with more cuts or changes, he said.

Two significant events in 2006 spurred the need for change in the city this year. An early intervention report recommended numerous changes and budget cuts, and a home rule study commission convened to look at the city’s structure of government.

“Sharon, like many established cities in Pennsylvania and around the nation, has experienced significant economic decline during the last 30 years and needs a major change in direction,” Lucas said.

Lucas noted that the early-intervention report recommended $1 million in cost reductions for the city. So far, he has achieved $750,000 in savings and hopes to have more in place by June 30.

He noted those savings have taken place without a change in property or wage tax.

Among the mayor’s recommended changes will be to sell the city waste treatment plant to Aqua Pennsylvania. He noted and sale would be subject to the resolution of several issues, including the effect of sewage rate changes, adequacy of Aqua’s proposed price and the approval of the public utility commission.

Lucas is also looking for change in the city fire department. He said they are in discussions to change the workweek from 42 hours to 48 hours. The department already agreed to a new health-care package that will save the city $10,000 this year.

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