CLARKS SUMMIT – Residents in the borough will not face a tax increase in the proposed 2016 budget, according to council members at the work session Nov. 24.
Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe said council’s five budgets: the general fund, sewer fund, debt service fund, liquid fuels fund, and capital reserve, “were prepared with no tax increase and no sewer increase.”
“That is very commendable from the finance committee,” said council member David Jenkins.
The council will vote on the budgets at the regular meeting Dec. 4, along with the ordinances written to pass the budgets.
The proposed 2016 budget also includes line items to hire another part-time police officer and part-time secretary for the police department.
Mayor Patty Lawler said, “We’re going to submit for hiring Matthew Sims for the part-time police officer position.” Nichole Kelly was recommended for the part-time secretary position, according to Kehoe.
Council member Pat Williams also wanted to add a line item to the budget to raise manholes and sewer grates on borough roads that are not even with the recently paved roads. Members of the finance committee recommended with a specific estimate, the work can be accounted for in the budget when the road projects go to bid in the spring.
“It’s not going to get into the budget next week,” said council member Vincent Cruciani. “We need an amount….we have to get it before we put the bid out for the road projects.”
Williams agreed to get estimates before February to incorporate the manhole work with the borough road projects in 2016.
“To me, the roads are very important,” Williams said.
In other news, the council is preparing to notify borough residences and businesses of a change to the sewer ordinance. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the borough will bill sewer invoices to the property owner, even if a tenant is the party responsible for paying the bill.
The council wanted property owners to have enough time to make changes to rental prices and agreements accordingly for landlords that want their tenants to be responsible for paying the sewer bill. The change from council prevents tenants from having to come to council for payment plans in the case of delinquency.
“We don’t care who pays it, it’s just the invoice will go to the property owner,” said Cruciani. “We are giving them a full year and an opportunity to appeal to council for particular relief.”
Any property owners that need individual relief separate from this policy need to contact borough offices directly.
Residents should also contact borough offices before Dec. 24 if interested in filling any borough appointments. Council will hold the borough’s reorganization meeting for the 2016 appointments the first Monday of the year on Jan. 4.