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Bowmanstown considers cable tax to fix roads

Bowmanstown’s monthly borough council meeting had one topic Tuesday: road repair and how to pay for it.

Pam Leiby filled in as council president for Kara Scott, who was unable to attend.

The borough didn’t have a chair to spare Tuesday night as many citizens joined the meeting to voice their opinions.

The borough council for weeks has been trying to find ways to gain money to complete more road repairs.

The council has been entertaining the idea of a 5 percent franchise tax on Blue Ridge Communications cable service.

This income could then be used to repave the long overdue deteriorating roads.

The local citizens who joined the meeting began voicing their criticism of the tax.

The first issue they had with the tax is that it’s not a tax that every citizen must pay.

The franchise tax would be specific to Blue Ridge Cable users.

The problem with this is that if a citizen uses a satellite dish for television or simply doesn’t have cable, then they don’t have to pay the tax.

While the citizens understood that money is needed to repair the roads, they didn’t think it was fair to do it using a company who has served them so well.

Indirectly, the tax would negatively affect Blue Ridge as a business in the thought that people forced to pay the tax would just change their cable provider and be exempt from it.

The overwhelming opinion of the crowd was that they would much rather have higher property taxes than implementing a franchise tax.

“We will take everything discussed here tonight into consideration and a decision will be made on Oct. 10 at our borough planning committee meeting,” said council member Burdell Steigerwalt.

Short-term street repair was also a topic of discussion.

A patch paving technique creating cartways on low grade streets was the previously discussed plan chosen as the short-term solution.

The borough is now taking bids from companies to do the process.

Once a bid is agreed upon, the next step will be taken to complete this road work before winter arrives.

Mayor William Ravert then announced a few letters that suggested a specific street that should be fixed first.

The suggested street was Sanders Street from Lime Street to Oak Street.

Ravert said the terrible condition and its high traffic and stated, “I agree with the letter and I think it should be done first.”

A donation from Horsehead Corporation paid for two new spring riders, which were installed in the borough’s two parks.

Council will meet Tuesday to vote the cable franchise tax and other matters. The meeting is open to the public.