The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breaking News

Latest News

March 28, 2013

All about the economy: County zeroes in on single priority

JOHNSTOWN — Over and over, the Cambria County commissioners showed one particular slide during a presentation to Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce members and other local residents Thursday morning.

It simply explained how the board’s top priority for this year is economic development.

They even laughed a little at the repetition. “Did I mention what our No. 1 priority is going to be for this year?” asked Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder when showing the image yet again to an audience inside the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown. His colleague, Thomas Chernisky, joked, “Economic development; do we got that down?”

The straightforward message was emphasized during their presentation at the chamber’s “State of the County & City” event.

“Our focus remains on economic development,” Lengenfelder said.

The overall goal of the gathering was to inform the business community about developments within Cambria County and the city of Johnstown, which was represented by City Manager Kristen Denne.

“I think it was terrific. ... There was an awful lot of good information that was imparted to the business community,” said Robert Layo, the chamber’s president.

The three commissioners emphasized seven areas: Energy, technology, finance, commerce, people, security and communications. They elaborated upon developing a foreign trade zone at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, supporting the local wind industry, using social media, improving security measures at the courthouse and several other subjects.

Commissioners hope taking those steps can help businesses create good-paying jobs and therefore improve the lives of residents.

“When you’re in business, it’s all about people. That’s what we’re all about,” said Commissioner Mark Wissinger.

Denne followed their presentation with a discussion about the city’s finances and services.

She complimented the Johns-

town Police Department for protecting the city with 38 officers, a total down from the 50-plus who used to serve.

“If there’s one area of the city that I would absolutely say that needs to be increased, it is the police department. These guys are doing a lot with a lot less resources, and they’re not complaining about it,” she said.

Denne also discussed the burden of legacy costs.

“This is what every city in the state of Pennsylvania is struggling with,” Denne said.

“Johnstown is not alone in this.”

Most notably, Johnstown’s pension program is only 49 percent funded. It would take an additional $20 million to make it actuarially sound for 30 years, according to the city manager. Currently, 252 retirees are receiving pension payments, while only 139 active employees are paying into the fund. Annual payments to pensioners exceed $3 million.

“The pension is what is absolutely stifling,” Denne said.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Smaller payout to seniors urged

    State Lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 29, 2014

  • Portage ambulance aid will add portable CPR device, other tools

    Federal funding awarded to Portage Area Ambulance Association will soon put “a third man” alongside their two-person crews when emergencies occur, ambulance operations manager Edward Nelson said.

    July 29, 2014

  • paint_twp building Paint Township considers offering part of building for rent

    Four years after Paint Township built an addition at the Basin Drive building to house its growing police department, much of the new space likely will be offered for rent this fall because the township supervisors say it's no longer needed.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Rockwood hotel will soon be history

    The historic – but dilapidated – Merchants Hotel in Rockwood is expected to be razed soon.
    On Tuesday, Somerset County’s three commissioners unanimously agreed to a demolition plan for the building, which was constructed in the 1880s. The arrangement calls for a private citizen, William Nair, to tear down the structure at 703 Main St. in exchange for being allowed to keep any salvageable materials.

    July 29, 2014

  • ATV blast ready to roll at Rock Run

    Organizers are keeping the spirit of the Fisher’s ATV Reunion at Rock Run Recreation Area alive despite losing the support of the award-winning Outdoor Channel TV show “Fisher’s ATV World.” Now called the Rock Run ATV Summer Blast, the event will continue to offer demonstration rides, motor competitions, product vendors, live music, camping and trail riding.

    July 29, 2014

  • Culvert 1 Preservationists use age-old method at historic site

    Preservation work on two historic culverts associated with the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has been completed. The culverts were reconstructed using a variety of techniques, including dry stone masonry, which was used to build the culverts more than 180 years ago.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 7/30/2014

    July 29, 2014

  • Report: Local jobless rate up in June

    A report released Tuesday by the Department of Labor and Industry showed an increase in unemployment locally from 6.4 to 7.1 percent in June.

    July 29, 2014

  • Detroit dealer admits role in Johnstown heroin ring, could face life in prison

    For more than a year, Kenneth “Kane” Carter ran his drug ring like a fine-tuned business, federal prosecutors said following his 2012 indictment.

    July 29, 2014

  • Police: Women stole thousands from elderly sisters, used money to show St. Bernards

    Two western Pennsylvania women have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from two elderly sisters and using the money to attend dog shows.

    July 29, 2014


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads