Many Americans watched the president’s State of the Union address delivered Tuesday to Congress.
State governors do something similar with state of the state speeches usually given in January, chronicling accomplishments from the past year, and outlining goals for the new year.
But at the local level, the practice is rarely followed.
But that didn't stop Heidelberg Mayor Kenneth LaSota to join his executive counterparts at the state and national levels in delivering a state of the borough report at the Jan. 21 council meeting.
The mayor invoked Article 10, Section 1029 (subsection 3) of the Pennsylvania Borough Code, which requires the mayor to “report to the Council from time to time on the State of the Borough and to make recommendations to the Council on matters of Borough concern.”
In his report, the mayor recapped accomplishments of last year and outlined initiatives for this year.
• $66,200 in grants were spent to reconstruct the Ellsworth Avenue Playground, rebuild the Second Street wall and steps and purchase drug prevention materials for children.
• Allegheny County Health Department grant paid for soccer goals and backstops in Heidelberg park and bicycle racks at all borough facilities.
• Public works employees constructed a Little Free Library kiosk at the Ellsworth Avenue Playground so residents can borrow a book and leave a book.
• Among the most popular of 10 community events were Earth Day cleanup, Memorial Day service, community fishing derby and Oktoberfest.
• Finances — the police pension fund, which is fully funded and required no borough contributions will require none this year, too; the per capita tax of $5.25 levied on every adult resident was repealed by council, and the general fund ended with a $25,000 fund balance; property taxes remained at 6.95 mills; and a five-year trash collection contract maintained public funding for trash remova.
• The quarterly newsletter won first place in the Pennsylvania State Boroughs Association’s annual contest and second place in the Borough Association’s competition.
• Police officers Antonio Ruiz and Emily Bielewicz were hired in August and a full-time laborer job was created in public works and filled by Bill Downey.
• The borough will complete the Route 50 Streetscape project as part of the Route 50 corridor improvement program with Scott and Carnegie.
• Electric lines that cross Route 50 will be removed.
•,Ellsworth Avenue playground will be reconstructed.
• A cruiser will be purchased for the police department.
• The laborer job will be converted into a permanent position.
“The borough certainly accomplished a lot last year,” new council president Richard Pattinato said after the report.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.