Tax hike likely in the offing for Montoursville residents

It looks like Montoursville residents may have to reach deeper into their pockets to pay real estate taxes after all.

Borough council Monday night voted unanimously to advertise for a 0.70-mill increase and to amend its 2014 budget.

Councilman Dennis Holt said the tax hike is necessary to help fund upcoming water projects.

He said too much funding from the water budget has been used to help balance the borough’s general fund.

Voting yes to advertise for the tax hike were Holt, Ronald Shearer, Mark Tillson, Rosemary Holmes, Christopher Lucas and David Moyer.

Holmes said she felt very comfortable with the increase.

“It’s a statement we are going forward,” she said.

Lucas said he could go along with the tax hike as long as the borough exercises smart spending.

“We have to do something,” Tillson said.

Shearer said in hindsight the borough probably should have hiked taxes at some point over the years.

It was noted that the tax hike would mark the first for the borough in about 20 years and raise about $180,000 in revenues.

The proposed millage increase would mean a $70 annual increase in real estate taxes for a homeowner having a property with an assessed value of $100,000.

Holt said the hope is to initially transfer $85,000 from the general fund budget to the water fund, money that was set aside for police security of the borough’s water system.

Council was forced to deal with the tax issue following Mayor John Dorin’s decision in December to veto the ordinance, which called for maintaining the millage at 2.3.

Council had passed a final budget in November.

The tax hike and budget will be considered during a special session of council Jan. 27.

In other matters, council gave Police Chief Jeff Guyrina the go-ahead to look into hiring two part-time police officers. Guyrina reported to council that the officers would fill vacancies in the department.

Council appointed Lucas to be the borough’s representative for the Central Keystone Council of Governments. Moyer was approved as the alternate.

Dorin announced he again is looking to introduce a no tobacco ordinance for Indian Park.