Monday, October 15, 2001

Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - October 15, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania INSIDE TODAY CONTEST: Test your smarts and win cash BS SPORTS: Yankees tie series with Oakland, 2-2 Bl Fish make swimming pets iJKrrar Copyright 2001 MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2001 500 newsstand Tyrone ponders hike after mill closing BY WALT FRANK Staff Writer, closing of the Westvaco Corp. paper mill will impact more than the families of the 255 employees who will lose their johs when it closes this month. The Stamford, Conn.-based corpora- tion's decision to close the mill might lead to an increase In taxes and sewer rates. The Borough of Tyrone could lose annual revenues of according to figures provided by Borough Manager Al Drayovitch. The borough also could lose in annual tax revenues: in real estate tax, in occupational privilege taxes anil in earned income tax. "If we lose all of these revenues in the gen- eral fund, we are talking about 2 Yz 'mills in Drayovitch said. "With this poten- tial loss of money, it is possible it could lead to a tax increase next year." The biggest hit will come from lost rev- enues for sanitary sewer and water ser- vice provided to Westvaco, which has operated in Tyrone since 1880. Drayovitch estimates the loss in annual sanitary service billings at and water service billings at "With the sanitary sewer system, there will be a lower flow and we may be able to reduce the cost of Drayovitch said. "By the same token, we have enlarged the plant because companies Ijke Westvaco had asked us for additional capacity. This creates additional costs." The borough completed a million project to upgrade and expand the 26-year- old Tyrone wastewatcr treatment plant. "We previously said when the sewer plant project was completed we would look at the financial situation, take a look at the rate structure and determine what kind of adjustment would be Drayovitch said. "Suddenly the Westvaco news came out of the blue and this will make a further impact. We were looking at a rate increase, and the closing will make it even more." A sewer rate increase probably would impact customers in and out of the bor- ough. The Tyrone plant serves aboxrt res- idential customers: from Tyrone, from Antis and Snyder townships and 822 from Bellwood Borough. Tyrone customers pay for the first gallons of flow and for each additional gallons per month. A cus_- tomer discharging gallons per montH pays Antis and Snyder township pay per month, and Bellwood cus" tomers pay a flat rate of per month'.: Meanwhile, Tyrone Area School District officials say the closing of the mill will have an impact on the district. Please see A4 MORE COVERAGE PAGES: B1 Bush rebuffs Taliban offer President Surrender of bin Laden is BY GENARO C. ARMAS Tim Associated Pi-ess Bush sternly rejected a Taliban offer to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a third country as U.S. jets began a second week of bombing. "They must have not heard. There's no Bush said Sunday. The number of people exposed to anthrax grew to 12 with the addition of a police officer and two lab techni- cians in New York. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson declared that attempts to transmit the deadly bacteria through the mail "is an act of terrorism." However, officials said they still do not have evidence linking the anthrax outbreaks in Florida and New York to terrorists. "We should consider this potential that it is Attorney General John Ashcroft said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It is premature at this time to decide whether there is a direct link." Please see A7 Mirror pholos by Kelly Bennett Leaves have started to change color and are falling to the ground with winter approaching Dec. 21. Above: Two trees in Loretto are at their peak fall colors. It's time to break out the rake as leaves begin to fall to the ground If the weather cooperates with the cool nights and bright days, leaves will hit their most colorful peak between Oct. 14 and 20. Pennsylvania is known for its spectacular leaf displays at the change in seasons. COMMUNITY FUND-RAISER Area students hold dinner to raise money for relief BY Wll.l.lAM KlBLER Staff Writer Many Americans have had an unsettled feeling since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. So, a couple of Hollidaysburg Area High School students tried an antidote Sunday: a chicken barbecue. Emma Zink and Brittany Dillier were con- cerned that while students talked about ter- rorism and the changes it has wrought, no one seemed to be doing anything. After a recent discussion in drama class, they decid- ed to help by raisingmoney. They will hand over a check for at least to the Blair County Chapter of American Red Cross for the disaster relief fund to help victims and the recovery effort in New York and Washington, D.C. The barbecue dinner was Dillier's idea because her mother organized them before, and they're good moneymakers, she said. They decided on Sunday afternoon to catch-people coming from church who then wouldn't need to cook dinner. Please see A7 Mirror photo by Kelly Bennett Brittany Dillier and Emma Zink put meals together at the Knights of Columbus Hall Sunday. Hollidaysburg Area High School students held the dinner to raise money for the disaster relief fund to help victims and the recovery effort in New York and Washington, D.C. Plaintiff considers dropping city suit BY WILLIAM KIDLER Staff Writer One of two residents suing the city for allegedly diverting million in recreation tax to the general fund probably would drop the suit if the city manager would listen to him and pass on his ideas to Altoona City Council, he said. Former city Parks and Recreation chairman BUI Schirf, partner in the suit with former controller Stu Duncan, wants to speak with City Manager Joe Weakland to explain his proposal to transfer the city's recre- ation responsibilities and all its recre; ation money to the Central Blair Parks and Recreation Commission.; 1 But Weakland has been uncoop; erative, Schirf said. Weakland had no comment, say- ing the case is In litigation. The suit alleges the city illegally skirted the state's 30-mill property tax cap by levying extra rec mfflage and declaring it for administration' an d p ublic safe ty in the c i ty's parks' and open land, according to thcif percentage of the city's total area. 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