Troy councilwoman to testify on Prevailing Wage
TROY - Troy Borough Council on Monday evening joined for the call for Prevailing Wage reform and passed a Prevailing Wage resolution.
Borough manager Dan Close said the resolution "just shows that this municipality supports some type of reform to Prevailing Wage."
Currently, there are three bills for Prevailing Wage reform.
State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1059, which would raise the threshold of the Prevailing Wage Act from $25,000 to $180,000. Yaw said this legislation is "aimed at reducing the financial burden on local governments."
In a news release, Yaw noted that the Prevailing Wage Act requires that all public bodies pay the prevailing minimum wage, as determined by the Secretary of Labor and Industry, to workmen on a public works project.
A "public work" is defined in the Act as any construction, repair, demolition, or alteration paid for in whole, or in part, out of the funds of a public body where the total estimated cost exceeds $25,000.
"It is important to note that the prevailing wage threshold has not changed since the 1960's," Yaw said in the news release. "There is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the threshold in current law. At today's cost levels, the $25,000 prevailing wage threshold virtually applies to every infrastructure project. This is a huge financial burden for our local governmental entities."
State Rep. Ronald S. Marsico is the prime sponsor of House Bill 665, which he said "would make it clear that the (Prevailing Wage) law would not apply to road repair projects." And House Bill 796 would raise the prevailing wage threshold from $25,000 to $100,000 for public projects, Marsico noted on his website.
Troy council member Krystle Bristol will testify in the near future to the House Labor & Industry Committee on the effects Prevailing Wage Law has on small business.
"I think if the taxpayers knew how much they're getting ripped off, it would put more pressure on the legislature to pass reform," Bristol said in a previous interview.
An office manager of Bristol Excavating, Inc., she is the vice president of the Bradford County Boroughs Association.
She said the director from the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs invited her to testify.
Bristol will testify Sept. 26 in Williamsport. The hearing starts at 1 p.m.
She shared an excerpt of her testimony that she will present:
"The Prevailing Wage Law requires contractors to pay higher wage rates on taxpayer funded jobs than on private commercial projects; this fact alone should outrage taxpayers across the state. They are paying more for the same outcome that a private company could pay up to 30 percent less for. Municipalities like Troy Borough that operate on limited budgets funded by the tax base are forced to pay more for road maintenance, demolitions, and construction, than a privately owned company would pay. This results in fewer projects completed and a reduced amount of funding for other budget items."
At the council meeting, Bristol spoke about the bills.
She said the Senate bill is a little more aggressive, and would be ideal.
"I think they're trying to find middle ground with the House bills because this legislation has been proposed before, pretty much every year," she said.
Close spoke about the effects of Prevailing Wage on local governments.
"It just causes municipalities like ours a ton of money because these projects come in at anywhere from five to 20 percent higher than what a local contractor could do that job for," he said.
"And get a better job," added resident Jack Hulslander from the audience.
Also speaking from the audience prior to the vote on the resolution, resident Deb Harer, who is a Troy Area School Board member, expressed her support.
"I think it's a good idea," she said. "The school district had to bid a roof out in pieces to get around that, and that's crazy."
Council member Jim Warn voted no on the resolution.
"I'm not going to vote for it right now, I've got to know more about it," he said.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.