Published: December 27, 2012
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PINE GROVE - Pine Grove Borough Council members approved their 2013 budget December 20 and it does not require an increase in taxes. The $1 million plus budget actually shows an excess of General Fund revenues of $591.31 even though it includes expenditures to hire another full-time police officer, plus a $5,000 purchase payment for a 2005 GMC truck.
Although the budget received a unanimous vote of the council members, two members, Tony Gurski and Scott Zimmerman voted against bringing part-timer Chris Taylor on as a full-time officer. It was noted that Taylor's hourly rate of pay would not increase. He would, however, as a fulltime employee, be entitled to benefits.
The budget lists General Fund revenues of $1,107,483 and expenditures of $1,106,891.69, while the Water Fund budget lists revenues of $863,741 and expenditures of $819,455.36.
Included in the Water Fund budget is a $5,000 purchase payment for the 2005 GMC truck, since it is shared with the Streets Department, plus a $10,000 lease purchase payment for a rubber tire front end loader and a $10,000 lease purchase payment for a dump truck.
The Liquid Fuels account shows revenues totaling $49,644.38 and like expenditures to be used for street construction/rebuilding.
Council also approved a tax ordinance which indicates no change from the current rates. A 14 mill real estate tax, a 15 mill occupation tax with all occupations assessed at $350, a 1% Realty Transfer Tax, a 1% Earned Income Tax, and the $52 Local Services Tax will be in effect for the coming year.
Information from the Schuylkill County Assessment Office indicates the borough's assessed value of taxable real estate is $31,167,025 and 1,355 taxable per capitas. Both figures are as of November l.
Mike Stalnecker of the North End Fire Company provided a report which showed the company had responded to 10 calls during November, one each in the borough, plus Tremont and Branch townships, and Dauphin County in an area on Gold Mine Mountain Road. Three calls each were in Washington and Pine Grove townships. Only one was a structure fire. One fire drill was also held during the month.
Stalnecker informed the council that the company is hosting a Water Rescue Awareness Class to help assure the safety of responders when dealing with water emergencies. The course to be held January 30 in the fire company, is also open to the public officials.
The police report for November lists 16 criminal arrests, 87 complaints, 3 ordinance violation warnings, 25 traffic arrests, one traffic warning, and 23 parking tickets.
The meeting opened with several moments of silence in memory of the children murdered in Connecticut, as well as a US Senator from Hawaii who died recently. It was announced that the flag would be flown at half-mast until all the funerals were held.
Although Paul Gantz and Lynn Umbenhauer voted against the motion, the remaining four members in attendance agreed to join with other local municipalities in hiring a Swatara Watershed Flood Recovery Manager recommended by Frank Zukas of SEDCO and State Rep. Mike Tobash, R-125. The agreement commits the borough to pay $3,750 for each of the two years the program will be tried.
Local business man, Ronald Aungst, attended council again this year to present a $200 check to the borough on behalf of Arthur "Pat" Aungst, Inc. The money, he said, was to help pay the electric for the Christmas lighting which he described as 'very nice' and made the borough look like a 'home grown town'. He thanked the Christmas Lighting Committee led by Dick Becker and noted his appreciation for the committee's commitment to keeping the lights lit.
Aungst also presented a $200 check for the use of the police department. As he had requested last year, he again wanted the money used for a child-related project, since every day, he said, we wake up to bad news.
The installation of the new water meters project will start up again after the holidays. Three plumbers have shown an interest in completing the project at a cost of $75 for residential meters and $100 for pit meters. According to secretary Judi Kassab, letters will be mailed to affected residents informing them that they will need to make their own appointments with one of the three plumbers who will bill the borough.
In other business,
- President Larry Dubbs reported there is now a table and chair in the hallway for anyone wanting to copy 'right-to-know' information. He noted that the furniture had been requested by former council president Phyllis Hesser.
- The mayor's father, Bob Brown, noted there is what looks like a miniature jungle along Route 443 coming into town. Since it was felt the area he was referring to was school property, the mayor will talk to school officials about it.
- Only one snow removal bid package was received from Arthur "Pat" Aungst. The amount of the various bids was not provided since they are all different depending on the type of equipment being used.