The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 10, 2013

Paint in the black: Township optimistic that it has put financial crisis in the past

— For the first time since last spring, Paint Township’s checkbook is balanced, supervisors say.

In the month since the township received its $350,000 loan, tens of thousands of dollars in 2012 bills have been paid, as well as last year’s $89,000 tax anticipation loan and its interest.

That leaves the township with nearly $100,000 in loan funds to get to April, when the annual flow of tax revenue begins coming in, township Supervisor Joe Huff Jr. said.

The positive developments have Huff optimistic the township won’t have trouble weathering the remaining weeks ahead – despite another round of concerns from local residents who are worried about 2013 spending.

“So far, everything looks pretty good. Everything from last year has been squared away and our vendors have been paid,” Huff said.

It’s the most optimistic assessment township officials have given about the township finances in months. The township needed the $350,000 loan from 1st Summit Bank after years of overspending drove the township into a six figure shortfall.

The township laid off a handful of employees and cut spending in the fall, but had to turn to neighboring communities covered by its police force to keep the regional department on the streets.

Since then, police contracts have been reworked with Paint, Central City and Windber to bring added monthly revenue to the department’s coffers, while two on the force’s roster, including Chief Rick Skiles, remain laid off.  

Huff said the township should begin to get a clearer picture on how the department is doing budget-wise later this month when February figures are totaled.

More than $22,300 in payments to insurance carriers has already been paid for the department for the entire 2013 year, a January bill list shows.

Huff said those one-time payments explains nearly all of a $25,662 differential between income and bills for January, the latter also including $1,413 in December bills that have also now been paid.

“As the year progresses, revenue coming in should take care of that gap,” he said. “At this point, nothing is off track. But we’ll keep monitoring everything ... to make sure that doesn’t change.”

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