ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)- The Altoona City Council held their first meeting on the 2022 budget Monday evening. The people of Altoona can expect not to see any tax raises in the next year.
The city manager proposed a $35 million general fund budget for the new year, with a projection to end with a surplus. Due to the pandemic, the council went into 2021’s budget with a lot of unknowns. Vice Mayor, Dave Butterbaugh, says the council felt a lot better about the 2022 budget because of the greater knowledge heading into the new year.
“There were just so many unknowns being in the midst of pandemic and not knowing where the expenses would go,” Butterbaugh said. “Not knowing how the tax revenue would work out. So, to be where we are at now without needing a tax increase for next year, we’re very pleased about that.”
A key highlight is the reimbursement of positions that were eliminated due to covid. Those positions include hiring five police officers, a finance director, and an additional role in the mayor’s office. Councilmember Bruce Kelley that these new positions are critical for the city and benefit public safety.
“When we eliminated positions, we spread pretty thin as it is, and it made some difficult jobs even more difficult,” Kelley said. “So it’s good to have extra personnel working and be brought back into the city’s workforce.”
Another significant increase was in the funding for fuel and cyber insurance. Cyber insurance helps the city refrain from any hackers and internet issues, which saw an increase of nearly $15,000. The budget increase in fuel is due to a rise in gas prices across the country.
The budget will continue to be introduced throughout the next few council meetings. The budget will have to be passed by December.
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