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Summit Hill adopts budget; raises taxes 1.5 mills

Published December 14. 2010 05:00PM

Summit Hill Borough Council gave final adoption to its 2011 budget last night. The financial package increases taxes by 1.5 mills.

The budget means borough property owners will now pay 15.1 mills in taxes. Broken down, 13.1 mills are for general purposes, 1.5 mills are for street lighting, and a half mill is for fire protection.

Expenses and income in the budget total $1.4 million.

The largest expenses are for the garbage contract, $291,414.50; police payroll, $225,020.80; GO bond principal and interest, $138,210; employee health insurance, $119,674.32; and public works salary, $84,593.60.

Indebtedness, including principal and interest on a police car, borough garage, and building project, totals $203,077.74.

Sources of income for the borough defined in the budget include real estate taxes, $647,811.77; local enabling taxes (per capita, occupation, Earned Income Tax), $270,150; Cable TV Franchise, $49,000; nonbusiness licenses and permits, $1,600; fines, $17,600; interest, $80; rental income, $17,844.64; state shared revenue and entitlements, $73,751,49; Fish & Boat Commission, $550; general government, $4,145.50; highways and streets, $2,500; sanitation, $324,370; and miscellaneous, $10,000.

Monica Marshall, president of the recreation commission, asked the council about the status of hiring a firm to clean the community center.

Borough treasurer Kira Michalik said this action was postponed due to the financial status of the borough.

Borough resident Tom Tkach asked about the status of the grant for the building project. The project cost $3.5 million and included construction of the borough hall, community center, police station, and fire station.

Of the total cost, the borough was to receive $1.25 million in a state grant.

Council President Joe Weber said the borough has received all but about $120,000. He said numerous requests were made to the state for the funding, but it still hasn't arrived.

A letter to the editor in the TIMES NEWS from state Rep. Keith McCall stated these funds were held up because one of the contractors allegedly didn't abide by the rules specified in the grant regarding prevailing wages.

Weber said about 1 1/2 years ago, the borough received about $650,000, then in April or May received another $500,000.

A bridge loan was made regarding the outstanding state allocation.

The council president expressed frustration at not getting the remaining $120,000. He said that when the grant was announced, it was to have been a matching grant. He said the borough has spent in excess of the matching state amount.

"Why we don't have that money, I'm not sure," Weber commented.

Councilman Michael Kokinda said the council took a $200,000 short-term loan to cover the $120,000 owed from the state. He said that loan "is still impacting us."

"It's easy for politicians to come up here with a cardboard check," Kokinda said, addidng that there was a voluminous amount of paperwork and correspondence needed for the borough to obtain the promised funds.

Tkach was critical of the council for not hiring a "clerk of the works" for the project, but Weber assured such an individual would not have caught the problems the borough is facing with the building project, including alleged heating, ventilation and air conditioning installation, which has resulted in litigation with the HVAC contractor.

Chief of Police Joe Fittos praised the council for working to improve the community with the building project.

"It's easy to point fingers," he said, "but these people up here try to do the right thing."

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