Borough passes budget with 0.7 mill tax increase

Montoursville Borough Council Monday night approved a 2018 budget that increases real estate taxes by 0.7 mills.

The $2.92 million spending plan includes 2.5 percent increases for wages and a 9 percent increase in insurance costs.

Council approved the budget and tax hikes with two votes each of 5-1.

Voting in favor were Tina Kline, Eric Greenway, Mark Tillson, Rosemary Holmes and Ted Haines. Voting no was Christopher Lucas.

Under the millage increase, homeowners with properties having an assessed value of $100,000 will pay an additional $70 per year in taxes.

Lucas explained he voted against the tax hike because it was too big of an increase at one time.

Greenway noted that the borough now is at 4 mills, which is lower than many other municipalities in the area. He said the tax hike was needed to help avoid a $150,000 deficit.

The millage increase will bring an additional $180,000 in revenues.

Kline said it comes down to either raising taxes now or waiting until later.

Tillson said higher taxes are needed to fund necessary services such as keeping in place full-time police officers.

Council approved wage increases for several municipal positions.

Yearly salaries for each of the respective positions are now at the following amounts: chief of police, $69,820; deputy chief of police, $63,171; secretary/treasurer, $61,734; police secretary, $22.27 per hour; borough executive clerk, $17.35 per hour; and borough executive assistant clerk, $14 per hour.

Council approved a contract for a $402,500 state grant for the Mill Street repair project. The agreement comes with borough matching funds amounting to $172,000.

Council also passed a resolution to prohibit Category 4 casinos in the borough. Category 4 casinos are those allowing a set number of table games and slot machines.

It was agreed to reduce council meetings from two times to once per month in 2018. Meetings will be held the first Monday of each month next year with the exception of Jan. 2; Sept. 10; and Nov. 13.