Bellefonte raises taxes, adopts $17.6M budget

BELLEFONTE — Property owners living in Bellefonte Borough will be seeing an increase to their real estate taxes.

During their Monday, Dec. 4 meeting, members of Bellefonte Borough Council unanimously adopted the borough’s 2018 budget, which calls for a tax increase of 0.75 mil. Council members Courtney Dickman and Taylor Lake were excused from the meeting.

Borough Manager Ralph Stewart explained that the increase equates to $35 more for the average property owner.

“There was quite a bit of discussion and quite a bit of work to get that number down to where it is,” Stewart said.

The new budget includes approximately $17.6 million in expenses, with no deficit projected in revenue.

Making up the new year’s expenses is $3.4 million for the borough’s general fund; $97,400 for street lighting; $180,915 for fire department operations; $96,330 for fire equipment; $95,450 for parks and recreation; approximately $1.5 million for water; approximately $10 million for sewer; approximately $1 million for refuse; $260,000 for Community Development Block Grant funds; $355 for special projects; $359,000 for highway aid; $239,000 for capital projects; and $349,500 for bulk water sales/redevelopment.

The 2018 Bellefonte Borough budget can be found in its entirety at bellefonte.net.

In other business, members of borough council followed on the heels of other municipalities throughout Centre County and the state and voted unanimously to pass a resolution to opt out of the ancillary casino option. The passed resolution means that the borough can prohibit a Category 4 licensed casino being built within borough limits. A Category 4 casino is one that could operate between 300 and 750 slot machines and could eventually have up to 50 table games.

“I am not in favor of standing in the way of any economic opportunities, normally,” said Mayor Tom Wilson. “My only reason at this point is the added expense and pressure that we put on our police department without additional funds coming in to support the need for a larger police force, if there was indeed a casino within the borough limits.”

Next week, borough council will be holding an open house reception to say farewell to four of its current members: Gay Dunne, Joe Beigle, Taylor Lake and Courtney Dickman. The open house is open to the public and will be held Friday, Dec. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Bellefonte Borough Office’s council chambers, located at 236 W. Lamb St.

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