Photo by Tracey Pedersen
Outgoing McKees Rocks Mayor Jack Muhr smooches with wife Janet after being recognized for his decades of service to the community.
By Jame Wiggan
The McKees Rocks council struck a compromise on sewage rates in the 2022 budget, raising the cost of each thousand gallons by 50 cents on Dec. 14.
Borough officials said the raise is necessary to fund mounting sewage expenses, while emphasizing it’s still below the $1.33 raise suggested – but not ultimately adopted – the previous year.
In a presentation delivered before the budget was finalized, Substitute Manager LeeAnn Wozniak said the sewage balance was getting slowly eaten up and was at risk of delinquency if rates weren’t raised.
Controller Bill Beck said the 50 cent increase was arrived at after careful reflection on the numbers.
“We went another year and only raised it 50 cents… so it doesn’t come near [the 2021 rate proposal],” said Controller Bill Beck.
Council voted 5-2 in favor of the raise, with Councilmembers Sarah Harvey and Leslie Walker dissenting and Craig Myers absent.
During public comments ahead of the vote, resident and former councilmember Maribeth Taylor urged council to put off the increase again.
“We keep getting hit by all these fees,” Taylor said, “There are a lot of things that can be done to raise money without taxing the residents.”
Ward 3 vacancy
filled by Dusch
Faced with three applicants, members opted for Jeffery Dusch of Jane Street to fill the third ward seat left by former councilwoman Liz Delgado, who died early November.
Members voted 6-1 in favor, with Leslie Gee dissenting and Craig Myers absent.
Dusch was not present at the meeting, but in his letter he touted his status as a lifelong resident, stating, “I have a knowledge of McKees Rocks history and the values that we all share.”
Dusch is a second-year apprentice with Orie Plumbing.
Council did not discuss the relative strengths of each candidate, however President Archie Brinza said all candidates showed promise.
“We’re in good hands with any of them,” he said before voting for Dusch.
Stacey Dick of Amelia Street and Maryann Holland of Chartiers Avenue also put themselves forward for consideration. Walker attempted to nominate Dick but could drum up no support from council colleagues.
Mayor Jack Muhr received a standing ovation after ending his final address to council on a note of optimism for the future of his beloved hometown.
“McKees Rocks is a good community,” said a tearful Muhr during his Dec. 14 address. “I’d like to see McKees Rocks continue the way it’s going… we’ve got a good group of people.”
Despite the positive tone, he also admonished residents for failing to show up to the polls in greater numbers, insisting more need to step up and take part if they want to see the town progress. He also singled out his successor David Flick, who was among the audience, and publicly wished him well.
Colleagues on council reciprocated Muhr’s affirming tone.
“It’s been an honor to work with you and learn from you,” said Brinza.