Harrisburg passes 2015 budget

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – With just over a week before the deadline, Harrisburg City Council unanimously passed a 2015 budget Tuesday night.

Council voted 6-0 to pass the $59 million plan during a crowed meeting.

It marked the end of a process that in years past has included layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes.

In stark contrast, the 2015 plan includes adding 36 positions. Additions include five firefighters and nine police officers, as well as investments in public works to battle city blight.

Nonetheless, the meeting was dominated by last-minute amendments. Most of the changes had to deal with salary increases. This had been a point of contention between council members and the administration. The mayor argued that it’s the best way to retain the good people the city needs.

Some raises were passed by council and others were not.

Council opted not to cut the raise for the police department’s community policing coordinator, but did slash the senior assistant to the mayor’s raise in half – to $7,500.

“The budget is balanced and we are happy. We have done our jobs. As city council members, we tried to work collectively and collaboratively with the mayor as far as the raises are concerned,” City Council President Wanda Williams said.

“We are talking about growing city government responsibly and slowly over the long haul and that’s what we set ourselves up in a position to do,” Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said.

Mayor Papenfuse credits the sound financial standing to very careful money management and a hiring freeze that will make next year’s new positions possible.

He told abc27 he will sign the budget as soon as it reaches his desk.

Councilwoman Sandra Reid was not in attendance. She is on medical leave until January 5.

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