Tower City referendum withdrawn

By Rob Wheary, Staff Writer •

TOWER CITY – Borough officials withdrew an application with the Schuylkill County Board of Elections to put a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide on a fire tax implementation.
When asked by Mayor Daniel Daub at the Sept. 12 meeting how the work is going on getting the question on the ballot, solicitor Richard Thornburg told him that the application was withdrawn after he received an email from board member Marcus Riddell, who also serves with the Tower City Fire Company.

“We felt that there was no way that with the amount of millage that was being put on the question, it wasn’t going to pass,” Riddell said.
Riddell noted that the fire company had a very good dialogue with those in attendance at an informational meeting about the tax on Aug. 15.
“It seems like there are a lot of people that were here were in support of paying a one-mill tax increase,”
Riddell said.
“The thing you have to remember is that while you had a good crowd here for the meeting, that was only a small percentage of the total population of the borough,” Daub said.
A one-mill tax increase would generate about $11,000 for the fire department. While that doesn’t seem like much, Riddell said it would be a big help.
“We are financially okay, but we can use that money to help generate other money as well when we need to apply for grants that call for matching funds for new equipment and vehicles,” Riddell said.
Borough council can enact any tax up to three mills. Anything over that must be approved by the voters through a ballot questions.
In other business:
— The board talked about buying more road materials for snowstorms, since state regulations are saying that municipalities may not be able to accept ash from the public anymore.
“If we accept ash, we would have to send it out to be tested,” said board chairman Bruce Schneck.
— In personnel matters, the board voted to name Steven Bohr as the borough’s new EMA coordinator on a volunteer basis. It was also voted on to send borough workers to Pine Grove Township on Sept. 22-24 to help with the
Schuylkill County recreation area. Councilmembers reminded residents that no electronics will be accepted.
— Council voted to purchase a new plow mount for one truck, and a cutting edge for another, for a total cost not to exceed $1,400.

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