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Council approves $11.9 million budget Monday

LOCK HAVEN — City Council approved a $11.9 million budget for 2019.

The land tax rate for 2019 is 26.32036 and the buildings and improvement tax will be 5.41509.

The rates were approved unanimously through a motion made by Councilman Joel Long and seconded by Councilman Richard Conklin.

Council also approved the final 2019 budget.

The General Fund budget is $5,685,428 with a carry-over of $1,063,289. The Water Fund budget is $2,170,777 with a $649,812 carry-over; the Sewer Fund budget is $3,491,231 with a $377,337 carry-over; the Airport Operating Fund is $265,760 and the Highway Aid Fund budget (liquid fuels fund) is $305,917. They all total $11,919,113.

The budget was approved by unanimous vote through a motion made by Conklin and seconded by Councilman Bill Mincer.

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Unlike in previous years, the 2019 budget does not list specific capital projects.

A total of $402,008 will be allocated to capital projects, which will be designated in March of 2019.

Of that amount $156,557 was allocated from the General Fund; $105,515 from the Liquid Fuels Fund; $65,479 from the Water Fund and $74,457 from the Sewer Fund.

City Manager Gregory Wilson said during a budget preview on Nov. 12 that the city doesn’t use the funds allocated to specific projects until March.

By not allocating the money to a specific project during the budget process it gives council a chance to figure out how much needs to be put towards a project, Wilson said.

If the money that is allocated into each project is not used, it can be placed in the capital improvement plan budget.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other matters, Council:

– Approved the consideration of a preliminary offer of employment of three officers through the Civic Service Commission.

Lock Haven City Police Chief Kristen Smith said the three candidates were picked out of eight and were at the top of her list.

“I think they’re fantastic candidates,” she said.

The candidates are Brad Coder, of State College, who has had years of experience in law enforcement; Kristian Von Kiel, of Kutztown, who also has experience and whose brothers attended Lock Haven University and knows the area; and Brandon Schrimp, of Williamsport, who recently graduated from the police academy.

The city has three vacancies to fill on the police force with only 11 active officers, including Smith.

Smith hopes to have the three candidates trained and on the streets by early January.

The current officers are working a lot of overtime and Smith would like to alleviate some of that work load, she said.

The consideration was approved by unanimous vote through a motion made by Long and seconded by Byerly.

– Requested City Treasurer Paula Dickey appoint Berkheimer Tax Innovations as Deputy Tax Collector for the 2019 billing and collection of real estate taxes.

Wilson said residents will still be able to bring their payment to the city. The city would then mail it to Berkheimer for them, he said.

Residents who typically pay in cash would be asked to bring in a check or money order instead, he said.

Berkheimer would also set up hours of operations and workshops at City Hall so residents could speak with them directly, he said.

A motion was made by Councilman Steve Stevenson and seconded by Long. It was passed through a 6-1 vote with Councilman Richard Morris voting against the request.

– Approved the use of Triangle Park for two different events.

SPARK (Supporting Public Action and Reliable Knowledge) requested the use of the park on April 27, 2019 for their Earth Day celebration.

Clinton County United Way requested use of the park on Aug. 3, 2019 for their United Way Day of Caring event.

Both requests were approved unanimously through a vote made by Conklin and seconded by Byerly.

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