Tamaqua taxes stay the same
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua Borough Council approved the sale of the community center and connected lot to Access Services for $150,000. Access Services will take ownership Jan. 1.
The 2013 budget adopted Tuesday by Tamaqua's Borough Council will not involve any increase in taxes or water and sewer rates.
The budget doesn't include the Jan. 1 sale of the Tamaqua Community Center (aka Mohn Building), 223 Rear Center St., and adjacent lot to Access Services for $150,000.
Access Services currently owns 217 S. Center St., and will eventually operate its Life's 2nd Hand Treasures shop out of both buildings.
"The building will be used for furniture," said Lori Miller, assistant director of Life Programs, Access Services.
During the meeting, Councilman John Trudich voted against the sale, saying the borough should have negotiated a better price.
Expenditures and revenue balanced out in next year's budget at $7.8 million, but that includes General Fund, Sewer, Water, and the Wabash Creek Improvement Fund, plus the H.D. Buehler Park Fund, Equipment Fund, High Rise General Fund, Capital Reserve Fund and several other funds, including Community Development Block Grants the borough will receive in 2013.
The real estate tax rate was set at 16.25 mills for General Purposes, 0.50 mill for the Building and Equipment Fund, and 0.50 mill for the Wabash Improvement Fund.
Regarding the Wabash Creek Wildcat Sewer inspections, borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt added that eight properties have yet to connect into the borough's sewer lines, and pointed out that letters and citations have been mailed.
A police department contract raised the amount of contributions to be paid by the eight full-time police officers covered under the new contract, which have a term of three years.
The council also expressed its appreciation to the police officers union for agreeing to increase their pension contributions from 5 percent to 8 percent. Council President Micah Gursky said negotiations with the police union went on for about a year.
"Our union agreed to the hike because the present issues would have made it hard for the borough to pay toward the officers' pension over the length of the contract," said Tamaqua Police Department spokesman and Patrolman Mike Hobbs.
Councilman Brian Connely called it "a fair deal."
"It is fair to the taxpayers," said Connely. "It is fiscally responsible and the increased contributions by the police officers toward their pensions helped the borough."
Gursky added, "I want to thank the police department for working with us."
Motions were approved to advertise bids for the sale of the following properties: 101, 113, 319 Washington St., 319 Rolling Mill Ave., 234 Columbia St., and 307-309 Gay St.
The motion to approve the updated Pawn Shops and Secondhand Goods Businesses ordinance was also passed. Trudich, Kevin Smulligan, and Dan Evans voted against it.
Council also approved a five-year lease agreement with Schuylkill County for the district magistrate office located at Rear 320 East Broad St.
Steigerwalt said that the construction of the Upper Owl Creek Dam was complete and work to the lower dam should be complete by the end of the month.