Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SUNDAY NORNING [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SUNDAY NORNING [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

That gasp you hear, that just might be Butler County gathering its breath, ready to blow out all those birthday candles.

Yes, yes, the county turned 200 three years ago. And no, 203 is not exactly a milestone. But it does seem that our sweet, bucolic, slow-talking farm boy of a county is getting all grown up all of a sudden.

For years, people have been pouring into the county's southwestern corner, seeking a little of that sweet, bucolic, slow- talking lifestyle, and the low taxes and low cost of living that came with it.

But housing prices in Cranberry and Adams are getting high enough to send folks to Fox Chapel bargain-shopping. We all know all we need to about traffic. Heck, we've even got our very own heroin epidemic. Farm Boy's heard of growing that wacky tabacky between the corn rows, but heroin?

County facilities are bursting at the seams -- which only makes sense, since they will naturally grow as the population they serve grows. That's been a growing concern for years; now the county is finally doing something about it.

The county is sinking $16 million into a new 911 center and new communications gear. It will be a dramatic upgrade, allowing dependable communication among emergency workers and between the workers and the center.

Farm Boy always kinda figured he'd head to the pond with a bucket if a fire broke out -- but that won't do these days.

Of course, that $16 million will come from a $51 million -- $51 million! -- bond issue the county approved a couple of weeks ago. The majority of the money will go to a new jail, with some paying for a new district justice office and other improvements and expansion to county facilities.

Farm Boy always figured if he caught anyone thieving he'd just hog-tie them, toss them in the back of the truck and take them to the sheriff. But no one ever did any thieving.

Of course, as the bills start coming due on that $51 million loan, how much will taxes go up? Someone's got to pay for it, and the jail and the two new district justices can't pass the cost on to their customers.

And if taxes go up, will the county start losing its advantage over Allegheny? …

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