No tax hike is anticipated in Hughesville

HUGHESVILLE — Despite an increase in spending, borough residents will see no increase in taxes for 2017, according to a preliminary budget introduced by council at its meeting Monday night. The $961,708 budget reflects an increase over last year’s budget of $922,900.

According to Mayor Walter Reed, the proposed budget is close to the 2016 budget with not too many changes. The borough expects to realize an increase in revenue, partly due to the contract with Picture Rocks for the Hughesville Police Department to provide part-time coverage for the neighboring municipality, and also from an expected $14,000 increase in pension aid funds next year.

Under expenses, lower gasoline prices  helped to keep that budget item under last year’s total, with the amount allotted for next year for gasoline in the police department’s budget set at $5,800, down from this year’s budget of $8,000. Costs for medical insurance decreased by about $10,000 for the police department, from just over $46,000 to $36,300, and from $71,855 to $50,000 for the roads and streets department due to a change in insurance carriers.

The budget now will be advertised and then voted on at the Dec. 12 meeting, according to Reed.

In other business, council announced that the streets department will begin picking up leaves in the borough beginning Nov. 7.  Also in streets department business, council approved hiring Irvin Bomboy as a part-time seasonal public works employee at a salary of $12 an hour.

Following a discussion of the new sidewalk ordinance, which still is being fine-tuned by the borough solicitor, council decided that the borough will assume the financial responsibility for the mats for handicap accesses to sidewalks rather than place the burden on homeowners who have to install the mats at intersections in order to be ADA compliant. Cost of the mats is expected to be $178 each.

Council approved a request from the local Rotary Club to place holiday decorations along Main Street beginning Nov. 20.

It also approved an asset allocation change for both uniform and non-uniform borough employee pension plans.

A request by the Bethany Methodist Church to block off Academy Street between Second and Third streets from 5-8 p.m. on Monday was given the OK by council. The church plans a block party at that time.  The council requested that the church notify residents in the area about the street closure.