Mayor expects taxes to be 2006’s top issue

Another issue facing the mayor and council involves the redevelopment of the Rustic Mall.

By: Melissa Edmond
   Mayor Angelo Corradino says he looks forward to solving many of the issues facing Manville in the new year with a new Borough Council and the No. 1 issue on their agenda is property taxes.
   The Borough Council will swear in Kathy Quick and Steve Szabo at Saturday’s 11 a.m. reorganization meeting. Ms. Quick and Mr. Szabo will replace Tom Weiss and Senga Allan, who served on the council for nine years.
   "We have two new council people. I welcome them and look forward to working with them," Mayor Corradino said. "Tom and Senga had their strengths and so do the new council members."
   "Once you sit as a member of the council or as mayor, partisan politics are put aside and you’re there for the residents," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
   He said property taxes are a main issue for the council to tackle in 2006. The borough has been dealing with reductions in state aid, including a $1.6 million drop in aid in 2005.
   "We must continue to spend wisely and maintain a cost-effective way of running government in order to continue to be affordable for our residents, and ensure we do not lose any of our homeowners because they cannot pay their property taxes," he said.
   "Our goal, as it has in the past, is to ensure that the tax increase is not larger then the property tax rebate given by the state, and that each homeowner has some discretionary income after they pay their property taxes for the year 2006," he added.
   Mayor Corradino said another issue facing the mayor and council involves the redevelopment of the Rustic Mall and the completion of the cleanup of the property, which was contaminated with creosote in the 1950s and 1960s when it belonged to the National Creosote Company.
   "We are working diligently with the present owners of the property to complete a developer’s agreement which I hope will be accomplished by the end of February," he said. "If this timetable is not met, we must look at this very carefully and try to evaluate whether the owners really want to be the redevelopers."
   Mayor Corradino said the council has to continue the revitalization program of the South Main Street façade improvements to make Main Street pedestrian friendly to ensure business prosperity and the well being of the community.
   The program has been funded by a county grant requiring a 50 percent match from the property owners, he said, pointing out that although the change has been gradual, many business owners have participated.
   "We hope more businesses take advantage of this opportunity to upgrade their property," he said. "Having an attractive Main Street is crucial to the redevelopment and revitalization of our town."