With a lot of 'slashing' and hard work Pine Grove Borough Council keeps financial plan in check
Published: November 29, 2012
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PINE GROVE - "We worked hard and did a lot of slashing," said Pine Grove borough council president Larry Dubbs during the November 15 council meeting. Dubbs was referring to the borough's 2013 budget which was approved for advertising and scheduled for passage next month. And the good news - No tax increase.
The proposed budget is available for review at borough hall, but former council president Phyllis Hesser reminded the board that there is no place to sit to review the 39 pages. Council will, however, provide a copy free of charge to interested residents.
This idea was suggested by Tony Gurski. "It's the people's budget," said Gurski. They should not be charged the $9.75 it would cost for other documents of that length since the residents, he said, are already footing the bill. If not free, he said he would accept a nominal fee of $2.
Scott Zimmerman agreed. "On line, free, or a nominal fee."
Mayor Kim Brown-Zerbe also agreed. "We worked hard and we want people to see it."
Although council finally agreed, president Larry Dubbs questioned what might happen when the council allows one document free and not others.
The October Police report lists 15 criminal arrests; 28 traffic arrests and three traffic warnings; 22 parking tickets issued, two ordinance violation warnings; and the receipt of 81 complaints. During the November 7 workshop, the mayor also noted that the police are investigating a number of potential drug related crimes.
Mike Stalnecker, North End Fire Company fire chief, informed the council that repairs to their building have been completed and it was slated to officially open on November 17.
Although the company was called by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to go to Long Island in the aftermath of Hurricane 'Sandy', the company declined. However, a crew of 20 was detailed to the area's Emergency Operation Center.
With the November 7 appointment by Gov. Tom Corbett of Tony Gurski as the borough's Emergency Management Coordinator, Gurski had informed the council during the November 7 workshop that he was already working on training courses that he needed to complete.
A resolution, FEMA Buy-out in Lieu of Formal Condemnation, was approved. According to Solicitor Chris Hobbs, passage will help the borough after the buy-outs occur.
In related business, Mayor Kim Brown-Zerbe reported the close out for the buy-out properties
should be wrapped up in another few weeks. "We're not giving these people a big piece of change," she said, referring to some rumors floating around. "Some will only end up with a few hundred dollars, or even five bucks." According to the Mayor, the home owners will be getting the pre-flood appraised value, minus any insurance money received. And those, she said, with outstanding mortgages, will also have to pay off their mortgages. "They are not making money and some," she said, "are still living in FEMA trailers. It's coming to an end, but it's the beginning for them."
Tom Fickinger reported the payments on a 2005 GMC dump truck the borough will be leasing for three years will be $10,000, $24,000 and $24,000. The GMC, said Fickinger, is replacing an existing truck.
In other business,
Council agreed to advertise for quotes from locals interested in assisting the borough with snow plowing on an as need basis.
A handicap sign was approved for a High Street resident who lives with an elderly parent. Although the resident has access to parking in a back alley, Brown-Zerbe assured the council the request was not made just for the convenience of the residents.
A request from Dave Kruel to perform the annual Black Creek bird count in the borough's watership for the Audubon Society was approved.
Items discussed during the November 7 workshop include, The Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will be held December 1, beginning at 3 p.m.
Three new employees were hired. Brian Beuchler began his duties as a laborer with the Streets/Water Department, while two part-time police officers were added to the roster.
The Tulpehocken Rifle and Pistol Club is interested in purchasing the Walters Street property which was appraised at $12,000 and would require the property be competitively bid.
Plans will be made to move the Streets/Water Department trailer to higher ground. Money has been received from FEMA for the project.