McCandless considers canceling Community Day as part of plan to plug $1-million budget hole - North Journal

McCandless considers canceling Community Day as part of plan to plug $1-million budget hole

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 10:48 AM

McCandless’ annual Community Day celebration to mark the end of summer likely will be a casualty of the financial hit the town is facing due to the state-mandated shutdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.

And even if the town can afford to foot the bill for the event, a question mark remains about whether such a large gathering will be allowed to take place during the pandemic.

“This is not just a financial decision,” Manager Bob Grimm told council during Monday’s virtual meeting. “We’ve received guidance from the Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society, which did an analysis of the proposed reopening plan from the governor.”

Grimm said even if Allegheny County is able to move into the “green phase,” the plan will limit gatherings to 100 people or less.

“Even if we are lucky enough to get to the green phase, by the time Community Day rolls around, we would not be able to comply,” Grimm said. “So this is a safety issue as well as financial.”

While several council members didn’t like the idea of canceling the town’s annual signature event, they supported the manager’s recommendation.

“I agree with you as far as not having Community Day this year,” said Councilwoman Joan Powers. “I think there are too many people having problems, and because of our problem with having a reduction in income, I don’t think this is something we should spend the money on. We should just resume it next year.”

Council President Kim Zachary said she was looking forward to Community Day and the prospect of its cancellation “is very disappointing.”

Councilman Chuck Mazur said canceling Community Day is “the only responsible thing to do.”

Grimm said other belt-tightening measures will be needed to make up the shortfall in anticipated revenue this year, but services the municipality provides to residents will be maintained.

To keep that promise, the manager has suggested, among other things, temporarily leaving several vacant positions unfilled and delaying the purchase of new vehicles.

Some public works projects also will be put off and changes will be made to the road paving program to reduce costs while repairing the same number of roads.

“This is an unprecedented time that we are in,” Grimm said. “This is the first time in a lot of years doing this that I’ve had to face this kind of budget adjustment in the middle of the year.

“But we are doing what we can to preserve positions, keep people working and keep the services going as residents have come to expect,” he said.