Mill Hall holds the line for 2017; no tax increase slated

MILL HALL — The Mill Hall budget for 2017 was approved with no tax changes and no increase in the sewer service rates.

Borough council had considered raising the sewer rates but declined to do so.

“We felt for this year, our fund was in good shape and the board did not feel we needed to raise the fee,” Council President Anthony R. Walker said.

The borough employees were given a raise of 30 cents a hour, as well as the IRS mileage allowance of 53.5 cents.

The General Fund budget shows $398,509 in receipts, plus the balance of $115,000 that carried over into this year, for a total of $513,509 to the good. Only $512,920 in expenses is budgeted.

Real estate taxes, not counting delinquent payments, are expected to total $196,000, roughly the same as collected last year.

Earned income taxes should total $123,000, mercantile taxes $13,000, and local services taxes $2,000. All three budgeted figures are roughly the same as collected last year. Real estate transfer taxes are expected to total $8,000, compared with $10,000 collected last year.

The borough also expects to receive $1,311 in county aid for roads.

Expenses include $81,660 for public safety including $14,500 for the police chief’s wages and $22,000 as the wages of the other officers.

Borough council approved a $5,500 contribution to the fire company this year, up by $500 from last year. And, instead of approving $500 for an ambulance company from a neighboring community, as it did last year, council chose not to give anything to that company this year.

Public works expenses are expected to total $201,950. They include $68,000 in road maintenance work and $8,000 in storm sewer and drain work. Wages and salaries for the public works crew are listed at $35,000 from the General Fund and an additional $35,000 from the Sewer Fund.

Council had discussed going in with other municipalities to buy pavement crack-sealing equipment, but other communities didn’t seem interested, Walker said.

General government expenses are budgeted at $75,938, including $15,000 as the salaries of the elected officials. The secretary’s wages are listed at $18,000 from the General Fund, plus an additional $18,000 from the Sewer Fund.

Recreation expenses are budgeted at $34,325 including $15,000 for the park custodian.

Debt service, insurance, benefits and transfers are budgeted at $119,047.

The Sewer Fund budget shows $466,100 in receipts and $107,000 in cash on hand for a total of $573,100. Expenditures are expected to total only $483,098, leaving a balance of $90,002.

The Sewer Project Fund spending plan shows $200,050 in receipts and cash and only $50,000 in expenses. The only expense budgeted for 2017 is the lining project for lateral sewer lines.

The borough expects to receive $50,658 in liquid fuels funding, and its Liquid Fuels Fund budget for next year shows $196,808 in receipts and cash and $105,000 to be spent on street projects.

The borough also expects to receive $3,500 in Act 13 gas industry impact fees which will go into the Capital Reserve Fund. The budget for this fund shows $144,385 in receipts and cash, and $30,500 in purchases and other expenses, leaving a balance of $113,885.

Council also made appointments for 2017, keeping everything the same.

The borough will make deposits with Jersey Shore State Bank, M&T Bank, and First Citizens Community Bank until the Jersey Shore and M&T accounts are closed.

Lee Ann Plessinger was reappointed as sewer auditor for 2017, the law firm of Coploff, Ryan and Welch were retained as the borough solicitors, Robert Miceli is the solicitor for the zoning hearing board, Todd Pysher is the borough engineer, Jeff Kreger is the sewage enforcement officer with Ann Reynolds as alternate, and the Clinton County treasurer will continue to collect the borough’s real estate taxes.

Dean K. Wetzler Jr. was appointed chair of the vacancy board; William Strunk was named emergency management coordinator; Miles Kessinger was named to the water authority for a new term to expire in 2019; Kessinger, Elizabeth Cruse and Thomas Johnson serve on the zoning hearing board; and Ralph Fryer was appointed to the civil service commission for a new term to expire in 2022.

Council Vice President Vincent H. Shay Jr. was appointed to the Central Clinton County Water Filtration Authority and as the representative to the Clinton County Economic Partnership.

Councilman Samuel Hoy Jr. was appointed to the borough planning commission for a new term to expire in 2019 and to the Clinton County Cooperation Planning Committee for a new term to expire Jan. 1, 2020.

Councilman Roland E. Weaver is council’s representative to the Central Clinton County Council of Governments (COG), with Hoy as alternate.

Council also approved entering into a study about regional policing through the COG.

In other business, council chose Redmond’s Complete Comfort as the company to install natural gas heaters in Borough Hall, in the garage area and the police office.

A survey will be done of the grassy strip along BEN Avenue to determine how much of it is in the borough’s right-of-way and how much of it the neighboring residents may use.

Council also approved the addition of one EDU of sewer service (the equivalent of one dwelling) for a single-family house in Walker Township. The township’s sewage passes through Mill Hall’s lines on its way to the treatment plant in Lock Haven, so Mill Hall Council weighs in on any additions.