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Council-elect contribute to budget work sessions

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport councilwoman Bonnie Katz talks with incoming councilmen Jon Mackey, middle, and Adam Yoder before the city council's second budget session Wednesday.

Three incoming city councilmen contributed to the first of two budget work sessions with City Council this week.

Republicans Adam Yoder and Vincent Pulizzi and Democrat Jon Mackey took turns probing for answers on budget-related issues from members of the administration.

Mackey asked William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director and general manager of River Valley Transit, how the amusement tax is $100 per machine in the city.

Mackey thought it was odd, considering one game of skill machine can generate $15,000 a year in income.

Councilwoman Liz Miele drew a laugh when she said the ordinance applied to machines in the 1940s.

Nichols told Mackey he agreed the ordinance on amusements should be revisited at another time by council, perhaps the finance committee.

Yoder asked Nichols where he thought River Valley Transit was headed in four to six years.

Through regionalization, with the service providing rides to customers in five counties, the outreach would likely include up to 10 counties, Nichols said in response.

Nichols said there is an increased need for providing rides to the disabled community.

“We are at a crossroads with mobility demands,” Nichols said.

Currently, RVT contracts handicapped accessible rides through STEP, in a shared ride operation.

Pulizzi asked Nichols how many supervisory positions were at the transit agency.

“There are five,” Nichols said.

Pulizzi noted how one manager position went from $32,000 to $73,000.

Nichols said the former worker retired and the salary is reflective of a supervisor taking over the role.

However, Councilwoman Liz Miele said she noticed a handful of salaries decreased.

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