No tax hike — but bigger water bills — for Wellsboro residents

WELLSBORO —  Osram-Sylvania’s closure means Wellsboro water customers will have to pay more for their water next year to make up for the loss of the longtime business, but if another business moves into the former glass factory, council will review the rates to consider reducing them.

Borough council on Monday adopted its nearly $3 million 2017 general fund budget with no increase in property taxes, along with its $833,433 water budget and $665,782 sewer budget.

Real estate taxes will remain at 6.33 mills.

To offset $150,000 in lost water revenue from Osram-Sylvania, water rates will increase $3 from $14.77 for the first 1,000 gallons used to $17.77 and for every thousand gallons used beyond that, customers will pay $6.16, an increase of 25 cents per 1,000 gallons.

For average usage of 4,000 gallons per month the cost will be $36.25, up from $32.50.

Council also removed the voluntary water reduction that had been in place since August during a severe dry spell, because of rains received this fall.

Council also:

• Increased public works employee Rob Cleveland’s salary to $48,000 per year effective immediately. Cleveland has passed state water test and now has water license.

• Heard that a grant through the Dirt and Gravel Low Volume Road program through the Conservation District in the amount of $52,729 has been received for drainage work on Buena Vista Street.

• Heard from Borough Manager Dan Strausser that the concrete work on the Norris Street and Riberolle Street bridges is underway and the Riberolle Street bridge should be asphalted by Friday. Strausser said he didn’t know if the Norris Street bridge would get paved this year but it will open once the other work on it is complete.

• Accepted a bid of $8,000 for a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe sold on Auction International.

• Approved two signs recommended for approval by the Historical Architectural Review Board, one for Curt Schramm’s CS Sports at 81 Main St., to replace the former Country Ski and Sports, and a window sign for Michael Capuzzo’s Mountain Home Magazine and Art Gallery at 87 1/2 Main St.

• Approved installation of a reserved sign for the Packer Park parking lot.

• Heard that professional liability insurance for the borough is rising from $91,000 to $93,000 for 2017.

• Heard from police Chief Jim Bodine that the Civil Service Commission will present a list of the top three candidates for the position of officer, which will be presented to council next month for consideration.