A 1.5 mill tax hike is anticipated in Summit Hill for 2011.
The borough council held a workshop session last night and six of the seven council members seemed to favor the 1.5 mill hike. Councilman John O'Gurek initially was in favor, but then said he feels a 1.2 mill hike might be enough.
Formal action on passing a tentative budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the borough hall.
The 1.5 mill increase would bring the total millage to 16.1 mills in 2011.
The budget being presented on Thursday reinstates a contribution to the borough's fire department and provides a financial cushion for the borough, said treasurer Kira Michalik.
When budget workshops initially began several weeks ago, the council said it would revoke an annual $4,000 contribution to the Diligence Fire Company. Because of the additional increase, council said it will include in the budget package a $2,000 donation in 2011.
The new budget also retains the current number of borough employees. The council in previous discussions considered furloughing either one of two of its full-time maintenance workers or one of four of its full-time police officers. Depending on budget negotiations, the layoff of a police officer might have to be considered in the future, council indicated.
Michalik suggested the 1.5 mill hike stating, "My thoughts are, nobody wants to raise taxes. But we keep cutting, cutting, and cutting. We have no cushion. If something happens, we have nothing."
She agreed that council might need a tax anticipation loan. She said this would amount to what would equal more than a half mill.
There were three borough residents in attendance. Only one, Joe Barone, voiced objection to the tax increase.
The treasurer said the council was considering just a one-mill tax hike, but this would leave the borough with a $2,085 deficit. It also would not reinstate the donation to the fire department.
With a 1.5 mill increase, the borough projects revenues to exceed expenses by $17,000, which includes the $2,000 fire company donation. It doesn't include any tax anticipation loan.
One of the concerns of the council is how much litigation fees will cost in the forthcoming year. The borough has been sued in Carbon County Court by one of the contractors of the building project, and then countersued the contractor.
In past meetings council members discussed eliminating some street lights as a cost-saving measure. Council members said there are areas where the number of street lights might be reduced. For example, Ludlow Street has lights on every pole, council noted.
Michalik suggested another way the borough might save money is to require purchase orders for most borough purchases.