No tax increase for Lewistown Borough in 2014

LEWISTOWN – Lewistown Borough Council gave an overview of the 2014 budget at its regular meeting on Monday.

Council member John Adams, a member of the finance committee, said there is no tax increase for next year. However, the budget does have an increase for the Waste Water Treatment.

Adams continued to say the increase will be about 6.5 percent, which was not a surprise because of the improvements being made to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The budget will also have a lower allotment for the Lewistown Police Department. The lower amount is because of no longer needing to payout compensations to officers, which was built into the 2013 budget. The budget will be on display at the borough administrative office until the council votes to adopt it on Dec. 30. If the council feels as if the budget needs to be re-visited after the new council is sworn in next year, the budget does not have to be passed until Feb. 1.

Ron Jager, of Gannett-Flemming Inc., gave a finance report the on the WWTP project. Jager said the project has saved money where money could be saved.

“Our project finances were not as severe as we originally thought,” Jager said. “I remember coming here six years ago saying ‘do not plan on getting any grants to help’. I was really wrong. Those grants helped to keep the costs down.”

He continued to say the 6.5 percent increase is because the plant has a lot more equipment that requires more power. The project is about 94 percent complete, Jager said.

During executive session it was brought up that the new fire ordinance states until a new fire chief can be hired, the deputy fire chief temporarily fill the vacant position. Before taking any action on the matter, the council asked Solicitor Jeffrey Snook to look at the new ordinance to determine if the borough is in violation.

Also discussed at the meeting:

Kim Kauffman, swim team president at Juniata Valley Area Swim Association, came before council to say the JVASA will not be in charge of the Rec Park Swim team next year, due to conflicts with management. Council President Russ Rager told Kauffman to address her concerns at a Rec Park meeting.

Approved John White’s resignation from the UCC-Board of Building Appeals, due to a conflict of interest with his new position as borough manager.

Asked Mayor Deborah Bargo, if she would be willing to continue to be the borough member on the Fame EMS Board of Directors. She agreed and will be appointed again at a meeting in January.

Voted to move the handicapped parking space from the side of Bon-Ton to in front of the store.

Voted to not wave the release of refuse charges for the Church of the First Born, 827 W. Fifth St.

Approved two per capita tax exonerations.

Lewistown Borough Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Due to the display of the budget, the next council meeting will be on Dec. 30 at the borough office.