Slatington council adopts preliminary budget
Money matters, specifically the borough's 2014 preliminary budget, dominated the Slatington Borough Council meeting Monday night.
First, however, Vice President Bryon Reed discussed a possible electrical problem with a circuit board that occurred earlier that day at the municipal water filtration plant. He noted that, as a precautionary measure, residents are asked to conserve water until notified otherwise.
While discussing the preliminary budget, President Daniel Stevens noted that the fire budget was not yet balanced and offered two possible solutions to achieve that.
He noted, however, that all other budgets, including sewer, water, liquid fuels and garbage, are balanced or have a surplus.
Stevens also cited concerns over increased insurance costs, due mainly to some claims having been filed last year and also an across-the-board increase in workers' compensation insurance, which he said had risen dramatically to $47,000, but which, he believed, would go down somewhat next year.
The council also discussed the possibility of including $13,000 for legal fees regarding right-to-know requests.
After the meeting, Stevens explained that the borough gets an inordinately high amount of right-to-know requests.
At the outset of the meeting, former Councilwoman Kris Burek spent several minutes citing reasons why, in her opinion, Stevens, who had expressed interest in possibly running for the position of borough manager, was not qualified. She also said other candidates should be considered.
Councilman David Schnaars said that it "goes without saying" that other candidates' resumes will be accepted.
When asked about it after the meeting, Stevens said only that, "If I apply for the position, I'll let my qualifications speak for themselves."
In addition, Parent Teacher Organization President Ashley Fenstermacher made a request for certain streets to be shut down May 17 for the PTO's first-ever "Color Run."
After an executive session that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours, council reconvened after discussing personnel, legal and real estate matters.
It then passed a motion to accept a preliminary 2014 budget and advertise it and the tax levy ordinance.
Stevens noted that, as has been true in the last few years, it was proposed to not increase water/sewer/garbage user fees. However, he said, a slight tax increase of from .2 to .25 mills was proposed. So if one's taxes are about $700 per year, they could increase about $28 to $35.
Stevens also added that the final budget, after being further discussed, amended and balanced, will likely be adopted at a special meeting following the Monday, Dec. 23, monthly committee meeting.