Bolivar considers tax increase
Faced with the possibility of eliminating Bolivar's police department and adding the cost of fire hydrants to residents' water bills, borough council members said they still hope they can balance next year's budget.
About 20 residents crammed into the borough building Saturday morning when council met to discuss the budget.
The total spending plan is around $58,000.
Between public input and a two-hour discussion Saturday, council was able to create a new budget that left a surplus of $4,000, without factoring a $7,000 cost for street lights.
A previous budget plan listed the borough's expenses at $88,000, with a shortfall of nearly $30,000.
That leaves two scenarios that council members must work out before the next regular council meeting set for 7 p.m. Dec. 6.
Council can pass on the cost of street lights to residents, based on property values or frontage, or raise taxes by 1 mill to continue to cover the cost of the street lights.
Taxes have not increased since 1990. They are currently set at 10 mills.
“Look at your cost of living expenses in two decades,” said borough treasurer Patricia Betts. “Everything has gone up in cost, and we haven't raised taxes.”
“I say we raise taxes 1 mill,” said council President Clark Baird. “We need to have some money for the future of this borough.”
“I'm not voting for an increase,” responded Councilwoman Sue Bartow. “I'm not here to raise taxes.”
Council members will meet again before the Dec. 6 meeting to finalize the budget and decide what to do about the street lights.
Resident who attended the meeting largely supported eliminating the police department, at a savings of more than $21,000, including saving gas expenses.
“As much as I don't want to cut the police — I'd love to have them around on the weekends — if we can't afford them, we can't afford them,” said resident Gary Baird.
“You can save $21,000 a year if you cut the police. They don't do anything anyway. Cut them to zero. (A borough department) has never worked yet,” added resident Bruce Clawson.
Residents advocated giving up the spring cleanup day to save $900, and eliminating the mayor's salary to cut $600.
They said they would be willing to pay $6 annually to pay for fire hydrants, which would be an additional charge on water bills, starting Jan. 1. The cost would be tacked onto residents' water bills through the Highridge Water Authority.
Plans are for council to approve a preliminary budget on Dec. 6. It will then be available for public review for 30 days at the borough building before council votes on the final draft at its reorganization meeting in January.
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Visit Ligonier’ to get smartphone-friendly
- International grad students experience Powdermill Nature Reserve ecosystem
- Fort Ligonier staff makes ready for ‘fantastic summer’
- Rector church fair marks 65th milestone
- Wellness Center marks 1 year in Ligonier Valley
- Ligonier Valley graduation ceremony set
- Day of Giving aids Ligonier nonprofits