Tower City holds line on taxes
Published: December 20, 2012
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TOWER CITY - The Tower City borough council passed their 2013 budget December 10 and residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Neither property taxes, nor any of the other borough levied taxes, will increase.
The budget, which had been open for public inspection since last month, totals $357,940 in revenues with like expenses.
General government expenses total $135,040 and includes, for example, salaries for the council members, secretary, and mayor; commission and supplies for the tax collector; electricity; fuel oil; and a donation of $12,500 to the Tower City Volunteer Fire Company, an increase from the $10,000 budgeted in 2012.
Council budgeted $59,400 for Public Safety, which includes salaries and expenses related to the borough's part-time police force, as well as expenses related to Emergency Management.
Although the majority of the $6,300 budgeted for Parks and Recreation is for donations to various community organizations such as the Little League and the Tower Power Library, $300 was set aside to pay for one-half of the electric bills at the Veterans' Memorial.
Expenditures totaling $157,200 were budgeted in the Highway/Roads/Streets Fund which includes a $30,000 Liquid Fuels allocation from the state. Although the majority of the money is spent keeping the borough's roads in repair, items such as supplies, fuel oil, equipment, salt, and signs are included, as well as one additional item - $20,000 for the borough's street lights.
The borough has seen an increase over 2011 in both its total assessed value, as well as the number of per capitas. According to information from Schuylkill County, the borough's assessed value rose $567,295 to $12,548,935, while the number of per capitas increased by 237 to 1,175. Taxes from these two - 5.7 mills real estate and $10 per capita (1/2 shared with the school district), as well as any delinquents from previous years - plus a 2.3% Realty Transfer, a 1% Earned Income Tax, and the Local Services Tax are expected to bring in $185,814.
With regrets, council accepted the resignation of Judy Kessler. Although Kessler had submitted her resignation at the November meeting, Chairman Bruce Schneck requested the council not act on it, giving Kessler another month to reconsider. "You've done a fine job," Mayor Dan Daub assured Kessler who had noted she felt she had not accomplished anything during her two years on council.
Councilman Paul Ruth agreed. "We'd rather you stay," said Ruth, but since Kessler would not change her mind, he motioned to accept her resignation.
Daub reported he had put together a "wish list" of problems for the required Hazard Mitigation Plan to be submitted to the county. Included on the list were various drainage systems requiring upgrades on both Colliery and Grand avenues, bridge repairs, as well as the purchase of an emergency generator. Schneck thanked Daub for his efforts noting that participation in the planning meetings was necessary in order to be eligible for future funding.
Daub also presented a proclamation recognizing the Williams Valley 2012 varsity football team for their successful year. Although they did not defeat Bristol in a recent state play-off game, the team is the District 11, Class A Champion.
Daub commended the council for developing a budget that considered the needs of the citizens while not raising taxes. Schneck in turn thanked Secretary Irene Dubbs and budget chairman Bob Shuey.
Although a police report of November activities was not available, Daub noted the three officers had completed fire arms qualification during the month.
Ruth reported the officers had logged in 175 hours during November. According to Ruth, only 47% of the money budgeted for police salaries in 2012 had been spent, and he hoped that the two new officers would be able to work more hours during the warmer weather.
In other business,
- Schneck requested any resident wishing to apply for the council seat vacated by Kessler submit a letter to the council for consideration.
- Dubbs reported the borough has received a total of $672.93 from the state which represents half of the State Police fines collected during the year, plus an additional sum because the borough population was under 3,000.
- A quote of $600 was received from Schuylkill Paving to paint a single crosswalk. Although the project will not be done until next spring, council had decided to do the work themselves.
- Schneck reported an application for a $51,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) had been submitted to the county with the help of Ryan Fasnacht of Alfred Benesch for storm water collection on West Grand Avenue at the borough's boundary with Porter Township. According to Dubbs, engineering fees were quoted at $12,000.
- Schneck and Harold Reiner will attend the January 10 Public Officials' Day at the Harrisburg Farm Show building.
- Council agreed not to have an independent appraisal of its assets as recommended by Robin Straub of Deibler, Straub, and Troutman, Elizabethville, the borough's insurance agent.
- Approval was given for the police to accompany Santa Claus on December 24 during his travels throughout the borough. Santa will leave the old Acme store location at 5 p.m.
- Council will reorganize January 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and will follow with their monthly meeting. Beginning February, regular meetings will continue to be held the second Monday of each month beginning at 7 p.m.