RENOVO - In these tough economic times, every penny counts.
That's why Renovo Borough Council is doing its part to help maintain services, keep community improvements on track and pay the bills.
All seven council members, along with Mayor Donald Pagnotto, last night formally waived their salaries for this year.
Renovo Council agreed to work without pay this year. Pictured, from left, are Mayor Donald Pagnotto, council vice-president Mark Campbell and council president Randy Bibey; back row, council members Gerry Kelley, Rhonda Balchun, Merry Ann Olshefskie and Kevin Dwyer. Missing is member Paul Fantaskey.
KEVIN RAUCH/THE EXPRESS
That means $6,300 - $900 each -can be used where needed in the budget.
The idea was first suggested by Councilwoman Rhonda Balchun last summer after council began receiving monthly financial reports that, at times, showed the borough didn't have enough money to pay its bills.
Balchun asked that council members donate a "few months' wages" to the budget.
Talk among council continued over the months and the "pay back" grew, with unanimous approval last night that council members and the mayor not take any pay in 2009.
For Mayor Pagnotto, the gesture isn't anything new.
The long-time public servant has never accepted any pay as mayor.
"When I first brought it up, it was intended to be for a shorter time" said Balchun. "But then when we (the administrative committee) got together to do the budget last October, Paul Fantaskey suggested that we put our salaries in the budget for the whole year."
Also last night, council heard Tim Holladay and Greg Smith, Clinton County planners, talk about details of the Erie Avenue facade project.
The project - funded by the state Department of Economic and Community Development- will pay for improvements to facades of businesses on Erie Avenue, from Third to Eighth Street.
The five blocks already have been enhanced by new paving, lighting and sidewalks. The second and final phase of the project is scheduled to start this summer. Interested businesses can pick up an application at the planning office, Holladay said.
In another matter, Mike Flanagan, Clinton County Economic Partnership president, reported zoning has been changed for the former Delaney's Jewelry store property. The property, which was zoned residential, is now a commercial site that will allow a potential buyer to proceed with plans to locate a pharmacy there.
David and Stacey Haulman are working with the county Revolving Loan Fund, the Enterprise Zone program and a local bank to open the pharmacy at 144 Fourth St. They hope the much-needed business will open in May.
The Haulmans hope to continue the legacy of pharmacy service in Renovo left by the late Robert Stehman, the last owner of Renovo Pharmacy, which closed its doors when he died in February 2008.
Separately, Flanagan said a prospect is interested in the 15 acres available in the Renovo Industrial Park and asked council to approve an extension to the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax incentive program from 2013 to 2020. Flanagan didn't elaborate.
The motion was unanimous in favor of extending the KOZ designation that allows a business to operate tax-free for a specific number of years.
The old Rialto Theatre property has a new owner.
Council last night opened one bid to buy the property. Service Garage LLC, an adjacent property owner, offered $4,242 for the land. Although council paid nearly $15,000 to tear the old building down, it agreed to the sale, noting the property will be put back on the tax rolls and a once-dilapidated site is now cleaned up.
Meanwhile, council reported it has not heard anything new from South Renovo concerning police protection.
In November 2008, South Renovo notified Renovo that it was dropping out of the police services contract in 90 days, effective Feb. 12, and would look to state police for coverage. In the past, Renovo police has contracted with South Renovo for coverage.