May 20--Prolonging the pain: As if a preliminary 1.5-mill tax-hike estimate isn't bad enough, Ligonier Valley School District taxpayers also have been told to brace for more bad news in the coming years because of projected payment increases to the state's public schools retirement system, according to the district's business manger. And Ligonier hardly is alone. Yet despite this long-looming pension bomb, its enablers in the state Legislature for years have turned a blind eye to any meaningful reform. And that's intolerable.
Royal flush: If Marcellus shale gas drilling were a poker game, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County would be holding a royal flush: It has collected more than $6 million in natural gas royalties, officials report, and without any the environmental degradation foretold by the doom-and-gloom crowd. These revenues should go a long way not only in holding down future rate increases but in modernizing the waterworks' infrastructure for its 121,000 customers in five counties.
Emergency training: Approximately 100 volunteers will join various Westmoreland County emergency service personnel in a training drill scheduled May 29 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. The exercise strengthens how well crews work together during emergencies, officials say. Participation also underscores volunteers' commitment to the lifesaving services they provide.
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