Muncy Borough Council continues discussion of fire tax

MUNCY – Muncy Borough Council was presented with the process for approving a fire tax on Monday night, in a continuing effort to determine the use and effectiveness of such a tax.

The process requires the advertisement of intent to approve the tax, which would include the reason that necessitates its imposition and the amount of revenue estimated to be derived from it.

The Muncy Area Volunteer Fire Co. receives stipends from both the borough and Muncy Creek Township that total $84,000 toward its operations, but a fire tax would generate revenue for the company instead.

Also outlined were restrictions on use of the tax. For example, the company would not be permitted to use the revenue for purchase or repair of new fire engines or hoses.

Mayor Jonathan Ort expressed his intent to meet with officials from the fire company in order to let them know the specifics.

“For all we know, they may look at these restrictions and say, ‘Well then, this tax won’t help us,’ ” he said. “We need to meet with them before this goes any further.”

The rise in millage rates for a fire tax is limited to 3 mills, unless it is submitted to voters for a higher amount.

In other business, Councilman Ed Feigles requested $3,000 from the equipment fund to update the borough’s computer network. The funds would be used to purchase a server, backup hard drive, color printer and updated QuickBooks software.

Currently, Feigles said, none of the borough’s computers are networked together, and because borough records are becoming “increasingly digital,” it would be very beneficial to update the system.

Council agreed, approving the funds by a vote of 4-0. Voting in favor were Feigles, Richard Baker, Linda Stein and Karen Richards. Dana Bertin, Matilda Noviello and Elaine McAleer were absent.

Borough Manager Bill Ramsey also requested funds, in the form of $2,000 for sub-contracting the work necessary to remove snow from borough streets.

“At this point, we have more snow than we can remove ourselves with our own equipment,” he said.

The removal requires more personnel and trucks to move the snow from where it sits piled on the sides of streets and in alleys, Ramsey said, and it will be a one-time expense.

Council approved the request by a vote of 4-0. The money will come from the city’s emergency fund and will not be an unbudgeted item.

Council also unanimously approved the purchase of a new vacuum for the borough hall, at a cost not to exceed $100.

The next borough council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 4 at Myers Elementary School, 125 New St.