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Bellefonte Borough council approves 2019 budget

BELLEFONTE – There’s good news and bad news for Bellefonte Borough residents as far as taxes go.

First, the bad news: Taxes are, indeed, going up. But there is some good news: The tax hike won’t be as steep as originally believed.

Originally, borough council proposed an increase of 1.45 mills – or approximately $47 per household. However, upon further review of the budget, council decided to go with an increase of 1.25 mills, as was announced at Monday night’s meeting, which was the final meeting of 2018.

“We set a test budget at our last meeting,” Bellefonte Borough manager Ralph Stewart explained, “but after discussion, we are reducing the general budget by $20,000. We are looking at an increase of 1.25 mills.”

Stewart said that with the revision to the original budget. Residents will be looking at an approximate hike of $40 per household.

“It is a reduction. We are trying to get those numbers down,” Stewart said.

In other big news Monday night, council decided to return Centre Crest from R-4 back to an R-2 designation.

At a public meeting last Wednesday, Bellefonte residents filled Lambert Hall and spoke over concerns of what would become of Centre Crest. The R-2 designation means that Centre Crest cannot be used for apartments or subsidized housing. However, council did add a special designation which means it can be used for office space.

“We’ve had a lot input from the citizens and the community,” said council member Doug Johnson.

In other business, council discussed closing some borough streets for a couple of events in May. Council was presented with a letter from the Centre County Library about closing some streets on Saturday, May 4, for NOVELcon. Council approved that event.

Representatives from Mount Nittany Health spoke to council about an event slated for Saturday, May 18. This health-related event will force the closure of several streets in an effort to promote physical activity.

Jeannine Lozier, Coordinator of Community Outreach for Mount Nittany Health, believes the event will bring people into downtown Bellefonte. She said that Mount Nittany Health would work with business owners to incorporate the businesses into the event.

“We really want to work with you to make this event possible,” Lozier said.

She said that there would be several pop-up tents that would occupy parking spots. Those attending could walk from tent to tent, taking part in different activities.

“Those would be sporadic throughout the closed area,” Lozier explained. “They’re not going to be on top of each other. The idea is that we have them interspersed. We want to encourage people to go from one end all the way to the other end.”

The number of tents, Lozier said, will depend on a number of factors.

“We really hope to have participation from the merchants,” Lozier explained. “They’ll have something in front of their facility that encourages activity, health or community building.”

The event will also incorporate Talleyrand Park. In the end, council approved the event.

Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 7.

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