RIDGWAY-- In some great news for Ridgway residents, the Ridgway Borough Council (RBC) voted unanimously to lift the emergency COVid-19 declaration enacted in March of 2020. With Elk County COVID-19 counts dramatically down and a larger proportion of the population being vaccinated than all other neighboring counties, the RBC congratulated all residents for following the guidelines over the past year, which led to the area having one of the lowest death rates and transmission of the virus in Pennsylvania, which the virus dramatically impacted large urban areas. Ray Imhoff of the Ridgway Volunteer Fire Department and Elk County Emergency Management Office spoke in favor of the proposal and also thanked all the residents for their patience over the past year.
"We saved lives in Ridgway by implementing this order," said Imhoff, "And the Fire Department and all other emergency responders thank everyone for following the guidance."
With current Ridgway Borough Manager Paul McCurdy retiring in the first part of August, the RBC, after a lengthy Executive Session, formally hired Michael Handley, current code enforcement officer and assistant manager, to the position in a unanimous vote.
"I want to thank every member of the council for their support," said Handley in an interview today with the paper, "and I promise to live up to the fine example by which Paul (McCurdy) has steered this Borough over the past decade."
In one of Handley's signature projects, the downtown campgrounds at the old lumber mill location will be open for individual rentals on Memorial Day weekend. The updated Ridgway Borough website (ridgwayborough.com) has an updated map of the area and allows for online registration. Handley was also the driving force behind the revamping of the website, with many forms, documents, and information easily accessible for residents and visitors 24-hours a day.
In an evening of great news for residents, the RBC again voted unanimously to eliminate the current Occupational Tax and instead switch to the Earned Income Tax fee schedule that the Ridgway Area School District (RASD) will place on the ballot in November for voter approval. This will save most workers in the Borough substantially and translates into a "fairer" tax based on earned income and not the set yearly fee based upon reported occupation. This will be a separate ballot question in the fall election and will be in addition to the RASD ballot question. Public meetings will be announced soon for comment by taxpayers.
Additional articles upcoming in the Ridgway Record will provide more details about the new campground, Borough Manager Handley, and the elimination of the Occupational Tax.
The next meeting of the Ridgway Borough Council will take place on June 21, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Second Ward Fire Hall in Ridgway, and is open for public participation.