TOWER CITY – Tower City residents will not see an increase in their property taxes in 2020.
The council voted at its meeting Monday to keep the rate at 9.7 mills as part of a $463,575 budget. Other taxes will also remain unchanged, including the earned income tax, 1%; realty transfer tax, 2%; per capita tax, $5; occupational privilege, $10; and local services tax, $52.
The 2020 budget is nearly $70,000 less than the 2019 budget of $530,556 due to grants, including one for the construction of handicap crossings on Grand Avenue.
“Come mid-April, we hope to do a lot of road work,” council President Paul Ruth said.
Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Bohr reminded Ruth that money from FEMA is earmarked for repairs to Second Street and cannot be spent on anything else.
Resident Ed Haus thanked the borough for removing various vehicles from the alleys for, he said, the sake of emergencies. Although some are still there, Haus was assured by Ruth that all will be removed.
Porter Township resident Virginia Morton updated the council on the wind turbine farm proposed by Clean Air Generation LLC since last month’s meeting. The turbines would be located in Hegins, Porter, Frailey and Tremont townships.
According to Morton, a colonel from Fort Indiantown Gap attended a November planning commission meeting in Hegins and voiced his concern since the Gap has the second busiest helicopter training facility in the country. He believes the wind turbine farm would negatively affect about 2,000 military personnel who use the area for training annually. If the facility closes, many jobs will be lost.
Morton said she had taken a tour of a similar project and talked with many residents. According to one man, there are seven turbines within 2,000 and 5,000 feet of his home. He said he moved his bedroom to the rear of his house because of the sound the turbines make.
“We need to raise our voices when the county asks for public input at the court of appeals,” Morton said.
She added that a 5,000-foot setback was one of the items she requested in a letter she had sent to the county commissioners. Ruth requested Morton inform the borough when the hearing will be taking place.
New backhoe, franchise check
The borough’s new backhoe is scheduled for delivery today. The machine was purchased from J. L. Hollinger and Sons Inc., Manheim, for $37,000.
Secretary Irene Dubbs reported a $3,327 franchise check had been received from Comcast, plus a $1,793 dividend check from KMIT, the provider of the borough employees’ workers compensation insurance.
In other matters, the council authorized Light-Heigel to prepare notices of violations for three borough properties informing the occupants that their water would be turned off. According to Ruth, the residents will each receive a bill from Light-Heigel for the work.
Bohr explained the three levels of certification available for people involved with emergencies. One, he said, is open to all people involved with emergencies, while others are required for emergency medical certification. A course that will be available in the Tower City area, Tactical Emergency Casualty Course, will be held in the Porter Township building and taught by Bohr. It will include some real-life exercises.
In other business:
• The police department logged in 100.9 hours for November.
• Councilwoman Chris Reiner urged members to mark parking spots on Fourth Street.
• The Lions Club was given permission to escort Santa Claus around the borough on Christmas Eve.
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