Council approves obtaining loan for MCRPD pensions

LEWISTOWN – During a meeting Monday evening the Lewistown Borough Council approved obtaining a loan from the Juniata Valley Bank to cover pension payments owed to the Mifflin County Regional Police Department as part of a settlement approved in April.

Ben Ried, Rhoads & Sinon, attorneys for the borough, put out proposal requests to central Pennsylvania banks for loans regarding the payment of the pension plans. It was determined that JVB had the best submitted proposal for a 10-year loan, which will cost the borough $490,000. Council President Russ Rager said the extra $50,000 comes from other fees attached to the loan.

“These fees include those for the attorneys, our Solicitor Jeff Snook, and interest,” Rager said.

If the loan is approved at the state level, the borough is prepared to finish all of the paperwork in June. Once the paperwork is finalized, MCRPD will receive the lump sum payment of $440,000. Rager said the borough would then need to start paying back the loan amount in semi-annual payments, with the first payment due in December. The council approved this plan with a vote of 5-1. Council Member Matt Moore was absent from the meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Deborah Bargo read a proclamation honoring Nancy Held. Held was the longtime tax collector for the borough, who retired earlier this year. Bargo said Held will be missed.

“I think I can speak for everyone at this table and in the borough that you will be surely missed,” Bargo said. “Your dedication was unbelievable.”

In her proclamation Bargo said that Held should remember the service she gave to the borough.

“I and the borough were blessed with your contribution,” Bargo said. “It is a sad farewell for us, but a new chapter for you.”

At the end of her proclamation Bargo presented Held with the framed proclamation.

In other business, the council approved the creation of an administrative assistant job within Lewistown Police Department. Chief William Herkert said an employee at the station will be promoted to this new job. Her previous position will be dissolved and her current duties will be dispersed to several other borough employees.

Council member Larry Searer said he believes creating this new job is a waste of taxpayer money, as the salary for this position is only $3,000 less than if the borough would hire a new police officer.

The resolution was approved by a 4-2 vote with Searer and Council member John Adams voting in opposition.

The following items were also discussed at the meeting:

The members of council were all given a draft document of a residential rental ordinance to review for possible changes. Once the council approves the document, meetings will be held with rental owners to discuss other changes that may need to be made.

Council approved the the synchronization of traffic lights in the borough to assist with emergency response.

Members of council approved a $50 amusement license waiver for a wrestling show to benefit the Juniata Terrace fire victims.

The Lewistown Borough Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Lewistown Municipal Building.