An Open Letter to Monessen Voters

Matt Shorraw
4 min readMay 18, 2021

Dear Monessen Voter:

This Tuesday, May 18th is one of the most important and consequential elections in Monessen’s recent history. This election will determine the path Monessen takes for the next decade. It will determine if we will grow or if we will fall backward.

In the past 18 months alone, with the help of City employees, my administrative team, and members of Council, we have been able to achieve an unprecedented amount of accomplishments.

With the help of Councilman Gil Coles, Controller Rosalie Nicksich, and City Administrator John Harhai, we were able to improve the City’s cash flow from $36,000 to $444,000 in only one year — during a global pandemic. We were also able to purchase needed equipment for the street department, as well as police vehicles. Additionally, we were able to hire more police officers, reduce overtime, and approve a 5-year contract with a wage increase, all while saving money in the long term. We will have our short-term debt paid off by the end of the year. Our financial management and intervention has saved Monessen from going into Act 47/Bankruptcy.

I’m working with bi-partisan support in Congress, and with officials in the federal level of government to get needed funding to pave the 33 roads most in need of repair. I am also continuously writing grants to improve our Downtown sidewalks, City infrastructure, and overall appearance of the City. We are moving forward with the mandated USDA Sewer improvement project, where we were able to receive $19M in funding, and we are seeking additional grant money to improve public parks. We have also been able to improve and re-establish working relationships with companies, utility providers, and organizations, and are working to improve the City’s credit. The improvement of our City’s infrastructure is crucial, and I believe Mr. Jim Earl, with his federal government experience, will help us improve our infrastructure if he is granted the opportunity to also serve.

More residents are stepping up to get involved, too! There’s better community engagement, and Monessen’s image to those outside of the City is beginning to improve. We’ve appointed over 30 vacant City board positions and have created some new boards as well. We’ve also adopted a Human Relations Ordinance, in an effort to improve equality and inclusivity. We are doing this by having honest conversations, providing information to residents, and treating residents with dignity and respect.

One of our biggest issues is blight — it’s no secret. We’ve been able to adopt over 20 new ordinances, many of them making the rules stricter for addressing blight. Our new full-time code officer has been hard at work addressing blight, too — and he has paid for his salary three times over. My tax forgiveness plan is already working to get vacant, unsold, tax-delinquent properties into the hands of people who will renovate them and put them back on the tax rolls. This will help improve our neighborhoods and reduce crime. If we can attract more people to move here, it’s possible we could begin to lower taxes. Unfortunately, my opponent, despite his years on the City’s Redevelopment Authority, has not been able to address the blight issue in the City. The redevelopment authority owes the City over $60,000 in unpaid taxes, and owns over 100 blighted properties, with no clear plan to improve them.

Lastly, my team has been addressing corruption and white-collar crime in the City. The most concerning instance is our recent discovery of evidence of audio surveillance and illegal wiretapping in City Hall. The cameras my opponent installed in City Hall as a contractor violated the law. We have since replaced those cameras and are seeking an investigation. In general, if the law is broken, we must have accountability, before unity. We must have accountability to have closure and to build integrity and set a good example.

I’m not perfect, but I love this City, and all of my decisions were based on love and concern for the City and its people. I hope you can see my love for this city, and my desire to help improve it, as demonstrated through the work I have done and continue to do.

I hope to have your vote this Tuesday, May 18th. The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm. Thank you for your continued support and understanding, and thank you for being a part of a movement that can improve the City for decades to come.

Sincerely,

Matt Shorraw

“This is only the beginning of the story of Monessen, where there are many things yet to be accomplished. With God’s help, and the continued cooperation of all the people, we will finish the job, and Monessen will be a better place in which to live, work, and prosper.” –Mayor Hugo Parente

Paid for by the Shorraw for Monessen

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Matt Shorraw

29. BS, Music Tech; Attending Harvard Univ. Mayor, City of Monessen PA. Community Organizer. Proud Alpha Chi Rho Brother. Love data, policy, and urban affairs.