Taxes level in Weissport
Weissport homeowners will pay the same tax rate in 2014 as they paid in 2013.
Weissport Council on Monday night tentatively adopted the budget retaining the same tax rate as was set in 2013. Taxes were last raised in 2011, when council raised the tax millage by 2 mills, but residents were spared an increase for this year. Council plans to set the millage at 10.9 mills by adopting the tax ordinance at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30.
Council members present were Gene Kershner, president; Sue Pywar, vice president; and Arland Moyer, member. Absent council members were Paulette Watson and Tim Rehrig.
Council members noted that residents of Weissport likely will see an increase in the cost for solid waste pickup. During the meeting, council opened bids from two companies who wanted to service the 400 homes in Weissport. Council voted to accept the low bid of $108,528 for a three-year contract from Advanced Disposal Services, Northampton. Council also received a bid for services from Tamaqua Transfer. That bid was $115,995 for a three year contract.
Larry Wittig, owner of Tamaqua Transfer, who attended the meeting on Monday night, said that his company had continued to service Weissport for the past year despite the contract having had expired in 2012.
Secretary Jillyan Sterling said that the bid which was accepted by council members was approximately about $4,000 a year more than the present contract, which means there will likely be a minimal increase in collection costs for residents in 2014.
Presently residents were paying $185 for weekly solid waste pick up, while tap rooms paid $220.25 and large businesses paid $349.50 per year.
Council members also adopted the handicapped ordinance. The ordinance regulates on street handicapped parking and makes provisions to maintain eligibility for existing handicapped parking spaces.
The new ordinance puts Weissport Mayor Jonathan Troutman in charge of reviewing applications and make recommendations to council. Council will have the authority to approve or reject applications based on criteria in the ordinance.
The applicant must exhibit proof that he or she has qualified for a handicapped person's license plate under the regulations issued by the state Department of Transportation.
Also only one handicapped parking space will be allowed per person in Weissport and only one handicapped parking space will be allowed per home. No handicapped parking space will be permitted if the applicant has a reasonably accessible off-street parking space.
The application fee is $250 per handicapped parking request. The fees will be used to cover the cost of the materials and labor to establish the parking space.
Each approved application will be reviewed annually, not later than Jan. 15, and there will be a $10 fee assessed each year.
Anyone not authorized for parking at the handicapped space may be fined $25 up to $600 plus costs. Costs may subject the offender to imprisonment in county jail for up to 30 days.
Council also adopted a grant agreement from the Department of Environmental Protection. Through the agreement, Weissport will be awarded $181,038 toward the cost of repairs to the flood protection levee.
Kershner said Weissport's flood levee is in bad shape and that the grant is awarded to small communities who don't have the per capita tax base to pay for flood protection.
The grant is approximately $113,000 more than the original grant had provided.
Kershner said that repairs to the flood levee will take place next year and will cost approximately $400,000 to $500,000.
"There is scarring to the levee," said Kershner. "The scarring is severe and has to be repaired."
Council also voted to table the Quality of Life ordinance. The ordinance covers issues such as household hazardous waste, indoor furniture, junked vehicles, litter and motor vehicle nuisances. The ordinance will set fines for violations.
Kershner said that the ordinance is needed to protect the residents from Weissport from nuisances.