JOHNSTOWN, PA – Johnstown City Councilor Reverend Sylvia King has emphasized the need to improve all neighborhoods in Johnstown, not just a few, in recent years and during her campaign for re-election to City Council.
She has been active with the Greater Johnstown United Neighborhoods Association, as well as other nonprofits including the Cambria County Drug & Alcohol Program, the NAACP Johnstown Chapter, Vision Together 2025 and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, while also being a pastor at Christ Centered Community. Church in Kernville and works as a Community Development Officer at AmeriServ Financial.
“I would like to see our neighborhoods become more stable,” King said in a recent interview with The Tribune-Democrat. “I would love to see our neighborhoods become more focused – burn remediation, burn prevention, our playgrounds, making sure that people who want to buy homes in the neighborhoods – that we have programs available to help. people to help buy a house. … Homeownership changes a neighborhood.
King, a Democrat, sees her role on city council as “part of my community service because, to me, it’s community service.”
She is also one of the foremost leaders in the black community, working to develop positive relationships with the Johnstown Police Department. She credits JPD for efforts to seek out “diverse populations” when hiring agents.
“In the City of Johnstown, we are striving to achieve this equality and improve outcomes, and we will do so by focusing on programs, policies and strategies that will create and maintain equality,” said King. “Right now, I feel the relationships are in the right place. We have our Police Advisory Council (Johnstown). They meet regularly to discuss any policing issues and then let us know if there are any. Currently, we are not experiencing any problems.
King, a board member for a first term, has worked on many issues over the past three years, including the sale of the Johnstown sewer system, which brought in $ 24 million which was used to pay for projects capital, such as putting in a new turf at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point, and funding three municipal pension plans over 90%.
“Helping consolidate the pension is a blessing because people have worked hard (for their retirement money),” King said.
One of the main missions has been to prepare Johnstown to exit Pennsylvania’s Law 47 program for financially troubled municipalities by the April 28, 2023 deadline.
As a participant in Act 47, Johnstown can collect a local service tax of $ 3 per week. However, on exit, the board could only set the rate to a maximum of $ 1. This difference would create an annual shortfall of $ 900,000 which the city has not yet found a way to remedy.
The money is separate from the $ 30.7 million in U.S. bailout funds for COVID-19 relief the city will receive.
“I know we have to put some revenue streams in place to make sure we can count on X amount of dollars per year or per quarter, so that we can keep our heads above water,” King said, “because this (US bailout money) is a once in a lifetime thing, so we certainly can’t make a living from it.”