Councilman apologizes for remarks

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Altoona City Councilman Dave Butterbaugh offered a public apology Tuesday to Blair County commissioners about the online comments he posted after the county’s recent informational meeting on reassessment.

Butterbaugh, who addressed commissioners at the end of their Tuesday meeting, said he apologized for the “disrespectful comments” and for the “disrespectful manner” in which the comments were presented. After the meeting, Butterbaugh said it was his decision to offer the apology before the commissioners at their meeting.

“I think it was the right thing to do,” the city councilman said without further explanation.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr., who lashed out at Butterbaugh two weeks ago when commissioners met, said he appreciated Butterbaugh’s decision to attend Tuesday’s meeting and apologize.

“That shows character on his part,” Beam said.

Two weeks ago, Beam described Butterbaugh as “two-faced” and “phoney” because Butterbaugh initially praised commissioners for the June 10 informational meeting on reassessment, then later referred, within online comments, to the meeting as a “dog and pony show.”

Butterbaugh also questioned the informational meeting’s focus on property tax fairness while ignoring the county’s future financial projections.

Commissioners pursued the study after financial projections showed the county unable to pay 2017’s bills with revenue generated by the maximum 30-mill general fund tax levy.

Upon learning of the commissioners’ reaction to his online postings, Butterbaugh said his comments were not meant to be derogatory, nor were they to be read with a negative tone.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Diane Meling acknowledged Butterbaugh’s attendance and offered him the chance to speak before the commissioners.

As Butterbaugh finished, commissioners nodded, with Beam offering his appreciation and Meling offering her thanks.

After the meeting, Butterbaugh and Beam spoke briefly, then shook hands.

“I appreciate him coming here,” Beam said. “We can now move on and let it go. … It’s over and done with. It’s behind us. It’s time to move on and let it go.”

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.