Police department’s budget draws concerns

LEWISTOWN – The budget for the Lewistown Borough Police Department was a topic of concern, during the Lewistown Borough Council meeting Monday night.

Council member Larry Searer said he was concerned about the police department being over their budget.

“I would like to know why the police department is currently over their budget by two percent,” Searer said. “This equals to about $20,000, why is that?”

Both Borough Manager John White and Police Chief William Herkert said this overage is due to some outstanding grant money that has not yet been credited to the department.

“This overage is not because of over spending within the department,” White said. “Revenue from grants for the school resource officer and one to combat underage drinking, this two percent is not realistic because of the funds that have not yet been given back to the department.”

White said with the budget being reviewed monthly, the numbers are right around where they should be overall.

During an executive session, council discussed Brooklyn Hose Co. and the purchase of their new engine. Council suggested the members of Brooklyn Hose Co. hire an attorney to help provide further information requested by the borough. Brooklyn has been asked to clarify who is responsible for payment of the loan and to verify its non-profit status.

The company had members travel to Florida to discuss the final plan for the new engine. Bill Morrison, Brooklyn Hose Co. captain, and Delbert Wileman, company lieutenant, both said the paper will mean the difference between the company paying tax or not paying tax on the engine.

“If we end up having to pay tax on this engine, it will cost us an additional $40,000,” Wileman said. “In the grand scheme of things, it does not mean much, but that could be money spent somewhere else.”

The borough also heard an update from the Mifflin County Library. Linda Mohler, from the library, spoke to the council about the programs that have been offered this summer. She said so far the library has held about 36 different programs with a total attendance of 1,000 students. Mohler also said that a lot of the program funding has been cut, both at the state and local level.

She asked council if there is the possibility of money being available in next year’s budget to be set aside to help support the library and the programs it offers to the residents of the borough and surrounding areas.

Also discussed during the meeting:

Council voted to start using mechanics and garages in the borough for the maintenance of borough vehicles, with the understanding that these businesses will be utilized if they can service the vehicle in a timely manner, the cost is comparable and that the project does not need to be bid.

Council approved the hiring of Quintin Reinford as a full-time police officer for the borough, to fill the vacant position left following the resignation of one of the officers.

Council approved co-sponsoring events that are scheduled to happen at the Rec Park swimming pool. The events include a back-to-school pool party, sponsored by the Mifflin County Children and Youth, and an event for the Lewistown Fire Department.

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