Harrisburg is now facing a newly discovered $1.8 million budget deficit. Mayor Eric Papenfuse says this deficit should come as a surprise to no one but, some members of city council say after learning about it in the past few days they have a lot more questions than answers.
Papenfuse says this latest revelation of a budget deficit comes from two places. One, is the debt incurred from the firefighter contract not being approved until Tuesday night. While the other is a line item in the budget of $800,000 that was placed in the general fund that actually needed to be transferred to Capitol Region Water as part of the water and sewer system. He says this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone as the city continues to work through it’s financial problems.
” This really should’t be a surprise to anyone but it`s also not an insurmountable crises or anything like that, ” says Papenfuse
But some members of City Council say the shortfall caught them off guard.
” We are part time employees dealing with a full time financial mess. We entrusted the Mayor`s financial team to come up with a budget that`s solid, ” says Sandra Reid, Harrisburg City Council
“We were supposed to have cushion over the next few years and build up the tax base and stand on our own two feet. So it definitely is surprising,” says Brad Koplinski, Harrisburg City Council
The mayor says he’s hopeful this deficit can be solved by the end of the year. He’s looking at a possible temporary hiring freeze and waiting to see the amount of revenue they get from the Earned Income Tax increase. A budget meeting is going to be held on May 7th. These members of city council say they hope to have their questions answered at that meeting.