Clarks Summit Borough Council approves tax breaks for fire company volunteers

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
Members of the Clarks Summit Borough Council approved tax breaks for members of the fire department during a regular meeting Sept. 5. From left, are Clarks Summit Fire Company President Mike Lukus, Clarks Summit Borough President Gerrie Carey, Warren Watkins, a member of the fire company’s board of trustees; and Clarks Summit Fire Chief Jay Miller. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

CLARKS SUMMIT — Members of borough council voted, 6-0, to approve a property tax credit ordinance for members of the volunteer fire company during a regular meeting Sept. 5.

Council Vice President David Jenkins chose to abstain from the vote due to his membership in the fire company.

According to Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe, volunteers who own a home with an average assessed value of $18,000 will receive approximately $120-$130 through the credit.

“In order to be eligible for the property tax credit, the volunteer must own the property and occupy the property,” Solicitor Kevin Hayes said.

Volunteers also have the option to accept a rebate for earned income tax in lieu of the property tax credit.

Per Kehoe, the value of the rebate could be as high as $150.

Fire Chief Jay Miller was appreciative that the borough passed the ordinance and believes it may motivate more people to volunteer.

“On behalf of the fire company, I’d like to say thank you because, hopefully, it will spur some interest in volunteering from either people we already have or from new members coming in,” Miller said. “We’re sufficiently staffed for the emergencies. It’s all volunteer, so people seem to come out as needed. We’re OK, but we do notice that our numbers have dwindled.”

Mayor Herman Johnson thinks the arrangement will prove beneficial for everyone involved.

“I want to compliment the fire company and our council, too, because I think both parties worked on this ordinance to benefit the fire company and our residents,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Chief of Police Chris Yarns announced the department received a grant through the Chiefs of Police Association to install a drug take-back box in the lobby area of the police station. The box will be available 24/7 for residents to dispose of expired or unneeded drugs.

Members of the council voted, 6-0, to pass a resolution which allows them to begin the bidding process for the sale of the borough building.

Per Hayes, there are several conditions in effect:

• the borough has the right to reject all bids

• the highest bidder would be required to enter an option agreement with the borough which would provide the borough with the option to sell within one year of announcing highest bidder

• the borough, during the one year, may also pass a resolution indicating that they no longer wish to sell

Bids are scheduled to be opened during the borough’s Jan. 2, 2019 meeting and will be awarded, if the borough chooses, during the Feb. 27 work session.

Members of the council voted 7-0 to extend the borough’s lease with Telespond for four months for use of the Abington Senior Center on a prorated basis.

Members of the Clarks Summit Borough Council approved tax breaks for members of the fire department during a regular meeting Sept. 5. From left, are Clarks Summit Fire Company President Mike Lukus, Clarks Summit Borough President Gerrie Carey, Warren Watkins, a member of the fire company’s board of trustees; and Clarks Summit Fire Chief Jay Miller.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_ABJ-CS-Fire.jpgMembers of the Clarks Summit Borough Council approved tax breaks for members of the fire department during a regular meeting Sept. 5. From left, are Clarks Summit Fire Company President Mike Lukus, Clarks Summit Borough President Gerrie Carey, Warren Watkins, a member of the fire company’s board of trustees; and Clarks Summit Fire Chief Jay Miller. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.