DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM)– Steelton’s Mayor Ciera Dent says the Borough building is in desperate need of cleaning and said it has been this way for years. On Monday, the Borough Council voted to spend just over $5,000 to deep clean it.
The borough announced Monday morning the building will be closed for cleaning until Wednesday, but Mayor Dent said the deep clean is just a short-term solution.
“This isn’t our building, it belongs to the community and it’s our responsibility to take care of that, to take care of this building and to make sure our employees can do their job in a safe environment and if we can’t do that there is something wrong with us,” said Dent during Monday night’s council meeting.
Dent said the borough’s municipal building is in rough shape.
“Stains everywhere, the floor that should be white is no longer white, there’s trash in the corner, there’s trash in the hallways,” she said. “Just filth everywhere throughout the building.”
Dent said there is mold, mildew, and a fruit fly problem. plus mice in the building, and she said the police department, as well as 15 to 20 other borough employees, should not be working there.
“If I had the authority, I would have shut the building down myself,” she said.
Dent said the problem started at the beginning of 2022 when the borough ended its existing contract with a cleaning company.
“They felt as though that it was too much money,” Dent said, but said since then a new company has not been hired.
Dent puts the blame squarely on the borough council.
“I feel as though there was procrastination that was at play, and I felt as though the majority of our council members just didn’t care,” she said.
Dent said the situation has gotten so bad, borough employees have to clean.
“I actually came in myself and helped them clean because I didn’t feel as though it was right,” she said.
The council is now taking action, approving a $5,000 deep clean Monday night, but Dent said that is a one-time fix.
“I fear that it’s going to put us back at square one,” she said.
Dent said council needs to find the money for a consistent cleaning service, and she has requested an audit of the borough’s finances to make sure taxpayers’ money is being wisely used.
Dent requested a forensic audit of Steelton’s finances. This would go beyond the general audit required by the state each year. A forensic audit looks at where the money is spent.
“I believe that we’re overpaying for a lot of services, and there’s a lot of things that we could probably be saving money on so we can afford things like cleaning services,” she said.
Acting Deputy Manager Jack Gombach emailed abc27 after the meeting with a response to cleaning services for the building.
“Earlier this year, in March, the Borough initiated an open bid process for the cleaning the Borough building. Qualified companies were presented to Borough Council; however, due to unexpectedly higher costs, the motion was tabled. As a result, Borough Council has responded by increasing specific line items in this coming year’s budget, allowing continued investments in the building, including ongoing maintenance,” said Gombach.