Jul 29, 2014

Audit: Easton Ended 2011 With Surplus

City announces result of audit, previews 2013 Easton budget.

Audit: Easton Ended 2011 With Surplus

Easton ended 2011 the way it did the five previous years: with a budget surplus.

That's according to the city's yearly audit, the results of which Mayor Sal Panto announced Friday.

"We're not like many cities, that are operating in the red," Panto told reporters at city hall.

The surplus comes to a little over $112,000, Panto said.

"It's not a lot of money. It shouldn't be," he said, adding that a large surplus could have only come from overtaxing residents.

Panto and City Councilman Roger Ruggles thanked the city's finance team. Ruggles praised City Administrator Glenn Steckman and Finance Director  Chris Heagele for staying on top of things like health care costs.

"You just can't sit around and wait until the budget comes up and say 'Let's talk about health care,'" Ruggles said.

One major burden on the city continues to be its pension costs. The city has $39 million in debt, and $22 million of that figure comes from pension obligation bonds. Earlier this year, council raised the earned income tax on people who work in the city and live elsewhere as a way to pay for these costs.

"Until the spineless amoebas in Harrisburg do something about pension reform, this is the biggest anchor hovering over our heads," said Panto.

It's those costs that will make 2013 a struggle for the city. Panto plans to detail his plans for next year Monday at 6 p.m., when he unveils next year's budget.

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