South Williamsport Borough Council faces a $145,000 shortfall as it takes up its 2011 budget.
Council plans to have a first reading of the budget at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers, Council President J. Bernard Schelb said Tuesday.
Schelb said council's finance committee, on which he serves as a member, has been meeting weekly to work on the budget. On Monday, Schelb told council "we are $145,000 out in right field." He added that council needs to meet as a unified body to figure out how to bridge the funding gap.
"We need to have a good, healthy, honest discussion on which direction we want to go," Schelb said. "It can't just be the committee. It's got to be the full body (of council)."
Schelb said council could decide on spending cuts, a tax increase or a mixture of the two options.
"We've had one (tax increase) in 16 or 17 years," Schelb said. "Since then, we've been living within our means, but at this point it's difficult to continue along those lines."
Regardless of what council decides, it must keep in mind that borough residents are going through "trying times," Schelb said.
"Everyone is going through difficult times. We're going through times that people haven't gone through in many years," Schelb said. "There is no magic formula on the best way to go."
Schelb said raising taxes "is the easy way out for council."
In other business, council appointed borough resident Edward Weinhoffer to fill the council seat vacated by Michael Miller, who resigned to take over the administrative duties of borough Secretary-treasurer Donna Sortman. She is retiring at the end of the month.
Schelb said Weinhoffer is a good choice for replacing Miller.
"He's been a regular visitor to Borough Council meetings. He's made some good points and is familiar with procedures," Schelb said of Weinhoffer. "He can be an asset."
Council also appointed Donald Lowe to the borough Zoning Hearing Board. Lowe will finish the uncompleted term of his wife, Bonnie, who resigned from the board.
Council also accepted the resignation of councilwoman Wendy Finnerty. Finnerty has about two years left on her term, Schelb said.