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Borough returns pension benefits to pre-2012 rate

MUNCY — Borough employees may receive a slightly better pension as the council raised the benefit range to 2 percent in a 4 -1 vote.

Voting yes were Elaine McAleer, Richard Baker, Edward Feigles, and Scott Delany. Linda Stein voted “no” and Richard Umpstead Jr. abstained.

The motion amended the non-uniformed plan, excluding police who already receive their benefits at that rate.

“They lowered it in 2012 to 1.5 percent and the borough had some harder times and now they feel as though it should go back up,” said Dennis Holt, borough manager.

The amount is calculated by the last three years of service, multiplied by the years of service and two percent.

“It’s a defined benefit pension, which is rare,” he said.

The beneficiaries receive a set amount every month, “there’s no risk,” said Holt.

Stein said she questioned the timing and valued fiscal responsibility in her decision.

“Is this the time to increase benefits?” she said. “Our (pension fund) is underfunded. Pension funds are notorious all across the nation for being underfunded.”

When the borough originally moved to pay 1.5 percent, the goal was to come to a figure that seemed fair to both taxpayers and employees.

“It was simply done with the idea that it was a better way forward for the town as a whole and it in no way was ever done as any kind of punishment or criticism of employees… It was never done in that spirit,” she said.

In other business, the borough formed a transition committee to complete the work of the Green Street park.

“There’s a strong desire that we retain as much continuity as we can,” said Stein.

The final motion keeps the original members regardless of the November election outcomes.

Currently the committee is planning for next year in attempting to acquire lights, a gazebo and landscaping design.

Under police actions, the borough allocated up to $48,000 to purchase a 2019 Chevy Tahoe. The vehicle will require $7,600 to be upgraded for police use and a further $1,500 to install a camera.

Under personnel, Scott Delany, council member, was hired as a seasonal employee for snowplowing at a rate of $14 an hour. McAleer, Umpstead, Baker, Eward Feigles, and Linda Stein voted yes. Delany abstained.

John Gramling was appointed the streets department coordinator for $17-an-hour, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The position will be reviewed in three months. McAleer, Umpstead, Feigles and Stein voted yes. Baker voted “no.” Delany abstained.

The next Muncy Borough Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 21 in at the borough office, 14 N. Washington St.

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