No tax hike in Loyalsock Township plan

Keeping with the trend of lowering costs and implementing more saving measures over the past four years, the Loyalsock Township supervisors approved the preliminary 2017 budget during the first reading Tuesday.

Voting unanimously were Marc C. Sortman, Paul D. Nyman, Virginia M. Eaton, John C. Bower Jr. and Richard H. Wheeland.

Township revenues may be down, but so are expenditures —  meaning taxes won’t increase with the new year, Bill Burdett, township manager, said.

“Looking back at 2013 to 2014 to 2015 to 2016, we’ve cut expenses every year,” Burdett said. “Even though revenue is down, the township continues to grow.”

The township is in a spot most municipalities don’t see very often in that total value is going up and expenses are going down each year, Burdett said.

The supervisors also voted to have the planning commission review and evaluate the expansion of the commercial district near Northway Road.

The idea was brought to the board during public comment by John Schon at the meeting on Nov. 8.

Schon said that as the county Planning Commission is updating the comprehensive plan, Loyalsock Township has been asked to contribute.

He asked that the board consider a zoning adjustment along the East Third Street interchange at the Faxon exit, stating that it would encourage further commercial development.

The township owes consideration to the commercial owners as well as the residents to look for an equal balance, Nyman said.

“We should look at it with an open mind and the planning commission is a good place to start,” he said.

If the area were to be rezoned, the township would have to prove a need for commercial properties so they don’t impinge on the public, Eaton said.

The Planning Commission will discuss the rezoning at its meeting on Dec. 8 and evaluate it with the citizens in the form of a survey or a town hall meeting in the future.

In other business, the supervisors approved two new land development projects.

The Carvel Ice Cream building at 1801 E. Third St. will be demolished, making room for an addition to the Mid State Beverage Co. building and additional parking spaces.

Some of the self-storage units at 2355 E. Third St. will be removed and an eight-bay vehicle repair shop — Auto World —  will take its place where vehicles will be sold and repaired, said Garth Womer, zoning administrator.

The next supervisors meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13.