Borough residents invited to hear about fire tax

By Rob Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

TOWER CITY — Borough residents will have an opportunity to hear the Tower City Fire Company’s sales pitch a tax increase to help fund emergency services.
A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15 at borough hall to allow the fire company to make their case for a 3.7 mills property tax increase to help fund fire and emergency management services in the borough.
The new tax will increase property taxes from 7.7 to 11.4 mills. Using the average property value, the new tax would designate approximately $33,000 in revenue.
Council does have the authority to impose a tax increase of 3 mills for the establishment of the new tax. Anything more has to be done by referendum on the November ballot. The board authorized its solicitor, Richard Thornburg, to prepare and advertise the ordinance that is needed to be passed before the question is placed on the ballot.
Council member Marcus Riddell said borough fire officials will be at the meeting to speak with residents and answer any questions, hoping to drum up support for the vote in November.
Borough mayor Daniel Daub worried about the timing of the measure, saying it might be too late for it.
“Absentee ballots will be going out very soon, so I wonder if we have enough time to do this,” Daub said. Thornburg replied he is awaiting a reply from an assistant county solicitor to see when the deadline is to have a memorandum passed on the ballot.
Still, Daub worries about it.
“The public will not vote to increase their own taxes,” the mayor said.
The other main topic of discussion came during public comment when a resident mentioned about a group of older kids hanging out at the playground near the swimming pool.
“They are causing nothing but trouble,” the resident said.
The taxpayer, who lives near the playground, said he saw about 15 kids there causing problems.
“They had the garbage dumped all over the place and were working on tearing down the baskets at the basketball court. When the cops would come they would scatter away,” the resident said.
As if the damage to the playground wasn’t bad enough, the resident told borough council that the youths are now going into other people’s yards as well.
“They were hanging out on a porch at one place and swimming in someone’s pool another time,” the citizen told borough council. “They said they didn’t have to leave because there weren’t any ‘no trespassing’ signs. One of the girls was brazen enough to tell someone that they had no respect for young people.”
Council president Bruce Schneck told the residents that they will speak to the police about it and step up patrols in the area.
In other business:
— Council directed the solicitor to help revamp the borough’s parking ordinance, some of the changes being made is that there will be no parking on either side of Second Street north of Colliery Avenue and that no parking zones on Sixth and Seventh streets near the fire company will be lengthened and designated as being for fire and EMS workers only.
— The borough will purchase tar block at a cost not to exceed $2,100 and will look into prices for hot patch for some street repairs in the near future.
— A discussion was held about a piece of property next to a business owned by Gy Rinaldi at 512 E. Grand Ave. Council was split on the idea of either selling the property or leasing it to him for parking. The action was tabled for further discussion.

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