Tax hike on way for Muncy Borough homeowners

MUNCY — A tax hike is looming for homeowners in Muncy Borough.

Council voted Tuesday to advertise the 2018 budget and an accompanying half-mill increase, which increases the real estate tax rate from 4.8 to 5.3 mills. That means residents will pay $50 more for every $100,000 of their property’s assessed value.

Citing the increase in the police force, Councilman Ed Feigles said residents had told council earlier this year that they wanted the police protection.

“If that’s the most important service we provide,” he said, “they’re willing to pay for it.”

Councilwoman Elaine McAleer noted that one police officer had added medical insurance as a family benefit, which increased the cost to the borough by $29,000.

With the increase in millage, the overall budget reflects an expected revenue of $1,024,366 with the greatest portion coming from real estate, earned income and local services taxes. This is a slight increase over last year’s budget of $1,015,405.

The greatest expenditure was for police with a total of $309,156.

Council President Richard Baker voted against the motion. Although she voted yes, Councilwoman Karen Richards said she is opposed to the increase in millage.

The budget will be available for viewing on the borough’s website and at Borough Hall for the next 30 days.

The final budget is expected to be voted on at council’s meeting on Dec.21.

At the request of Police Chief James Dorman, council approved a motion to direct the borough manager to compose and advertise an amendment to the borough’s curfew ordinance redefining a minor to be any person under the age of 18.

Under the current ordinance, a minor is defined as anyone under 17.

With the current curfew, Dorman said, 17-year-olds can roam the streets.

“We need to get them off the streets and under parental control,” he said.

In a cost-saving measure, council directed the borough manager to draw up a memorandum of understanding with the Muncy Area Volunteer Fire Department so the fire department and borough vehicles both may use diesel fuel drawn from the borough’s storage tank. The borough then will pay the fire department, which can get the fuel at a lower cost, for the fuel borough vehicles use.

The borough will maintain the pump and the tank.

Under personnel matters, council approved a motion stating that a non-uniform grievance had been denied and it is being referred to the personnel committee to draft a written response within seven days. No details were given on the issue.

In other actions, council accepted the resignation of Councilwoman Tillie Noviello, effective Tuesday. McAleer said council accepted the resignation with deep regret.

In a report on an unopened alley near Brelsford Motors, borough solicitor Chris Kenyon said the owner of the business has agreed to cover the costs of the borough abandoning the alley. Council will vote on this at a later meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Feigles said the work that had been done at Sherman and Penn streets to alleviate a storm water runoff issue has been deemed successful. He also thanked the West Branch Regional Authority for their help with the job.

Prior to the regular meeting, council held an executive session for personnel and legal matters.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Borough Hall, 14 N. Washington St.