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Article published May 9, 2012
Cranberry fully in focus
Bruce MazzoniMember, Cranberry Township
In a letter to the editor, Earl Grubbs questioned if Cranberry Township has lost focus on financial issues. Is he more knowledgeable than Moody’s financial rating system, which gives Cranberry an Aa2 rating? Only 15 municipalities out of 2,653 in our state have a better rating. Maybe Grubbs has more experience than our bond counsel, who stated publicly that one has to travel to the eastern side of the state to find another community as efficient and effective as Cranberry? Or, maybe PNC Capital does not know what it is talking about when it says Cranberry is one of the most financially sound communities in the state? In his letter to the editor, Grubbs asked Cranberry Township residents if they “get a fair return on their tax investment,” and I would like to answer that question with some facts. In the last 10 years, businesses and residents contributed in local taxes a combined total of approximately $150 million. In the last 10 years, Cranberry Township has seen a growth of 8,500 new jobs. Unemployment in Cranberry is 3.6 percent, one of the lowest rates in the nation. Also in the last 10 years, Cranberry has attracted 4,500 new residents, 400 new businesses and $1.3 billion in new development. Together, this has translated into more than $6 billion in economic impact, and that does not include the appreciation of our home values and personal incomes to those of us who lived here before major development. Plus, the payment of our taxes provides for a wide range of excellent services that keep our community safe and desirable. We also insist on hiring highly qualified employees to manage our community’s assets to ensure the community’s financial well-being into the next two decades. And, on top of all that, even with the recent tax increase to fill the gap caused by the state’s inaction regarding road funding, a Cranberry resident pays less today than a resident 20 years ago based on constant dollars. An average township household pays less in township taxes for about half of what that household pays for cable and Internet services. Cranberry Township is committed to transparency. We list our complete 406-page budget on our website, along with the last five years of budgets, including our last three years of audit statements. Cranberry has nothing to hide. Just the opposite, few communities provide as much information on their website as we do. In addition, I always am willing to meet any residents to discuss financial issues regarding the township. I have asked several times for Grubbs to meet with me to discuss these and other issues. As of this writing, he has declined to do so. So, are Cranberry residents and businesses getting a fair return on their tax dollars? Consider that $150 million of taxes created $6 billion in local economic impact that wasn’t here 10 years ago. In the business world, the return on investment would be 3,900 percent. I would not call that fair; I would call it outstanding.