Harrisburg City Council questions mayor about street light maintenance

Harrisburg City Council held a hearing on the 2013 budget Wednesday night.

Mayor Linda Thompson came to Council chambers to answer questions about the budget plan she submitted last week.

Many of the questions centered on what the city is doing to repair street lights that have gone out. Several council members said that is one of the complaints they hear the most from city residents.

“Crime, trash, and street lights seem to be what we hear the most of,” said Brad Koplinski, chairman of the budget and finance committee.

“Some of those street lights are being sabotaged for purposes,” said councilwoman Eugenia Smith. “And that's all the more reason why we need to be vigilant with at least keeping the street lights on.”

Koplinski asked if the mayor could include a street light foreman in her budget.

“The receiver has put that position on hold,” Thompson responded. “I certainly advocate that we should be able to get a point person back into the budget, such as a foreman.”

But councilwoman Sandra Reid questioned the mayor's commitment to that position, in light of the fact that Thompson continues to ask the council for a spokesperson to be included in the budget each year.

“I don't understand how, when we're talking public safety and part of our core values, how we can entertain a spokesperson position and not something that's going to benefit the residents that pay taxes,” Reid said.

But the mayor defended her budget requests.

“We're advocating for the foreman,” Thompson said. “Quite frankly, we're advocating for both positions because both positions are important, so it's not like we haven't been advocating for that position.”

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