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City council, mayor hold initial meeting

In his first meeting as mayor, Derek Slaughter told City Council Thursday he looked forward to a year ahead of interaction and cooperation on behalf of Williamsport.

Slaughter addressed President Randall J. Allison and four new members attending — David Banks, Adam Yoder, Jon Mackey and Vincent Pulizzi. Incumbents Bonnie Katz and Liz Miele, council vice president, were absent.

Slaughter and others lauded Janice Frank, city clerk, for her attention to detail in the successful inauguration ceremony for the mayor and elected and appointed city officials at City Hall.

In action taken, council approved a $2 million revolving loan or tax anticipation note.

The money is borrowed from M&T Bank to cover the city cash flow while it waits for tax revenue to be returned starting in March, April and May, said Joseph Pawlak, of the city finance department.

Councilman Adam Yoder noted how it would be beneficial to consider other financial institutions in a request for proposals to seek the best interest available on the note.

In all, the city paid $5,000 in interest last year, Pawlak said.

But, Yoder added, that it is indicative of the city cash flow issue it faces each year.

He said the council and administration are aware of financial challenges third class cities face. However, Yoder said the matter should be discussed as part of the planning, financial and budget processes.

“We have to do this (borrow) for the next couple of years,” Yoder said, adding, “the goal should be to strive for not having to do it.”

Yoder said he thought it might be worth looking at a competitive process for the tax anticipation note to bring as much value to the city as possible.

Mackey said the public needs to know the city does not need to draw down the entire $2 million all at once.

Allison said the amount drawn over the years has “gone up and down.”

He, too, agreed with Yoder that it would make everyone’s life easier if the city could get it down.

Banks asked Pawlak how many years the city has drawn down on these tax anticipation notes.

“Since the early 2000s,” Pawlak said.

“We are leveraging tax revenues for this note,” Pawlak said.

Privately, before the meeting, the mayor said he had not named an administrative team and was working through the process.

Following the meeting, council held an executive session for personnel and legal matters and did not reconvene.

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