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New Florence earmarks Act 13 money for police

| Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 9:15 p.m.

New Florence Borough Council gave final approval last week for its 2012 budget, which allocates about $2,600 in gas-drilling impact fee money to the police department and calls for no tax increase.

Council members voted unanimously to allocate the money received under state Act 13 to the department after Councilwoman Sharon McGinnis pointed out that $2,800 was needed to cover the cost of policing hours in 2013.

Council requested officers work between 15 and 20 hours a week from January to April and 32 hours weekly after that.

Council will have to find another $200 to assure coverage during the last week of December, Mayor Neva Gindlesperger said.

The $165,505 budget includes no tax increase in property taxes. Last year, taxes were raised 5 mills to 16 mills. One mill generates about $4,000.

Council members discussed eliminating a $700 annual donation to the New Florence Community Library.

“It's nothing against the library,” McGinnis said. “It's just that $700 is two months worth of selling 50/50 tickets for them. They have ways to raise money, and we can't raise money. It was fine while they were getting on their feet, but now they're putting money in savings while we're taking money out.”

McGinnis' motion to eliminate the contribution died for lack of a second.

“Money we get from taxpayers should go back into the community, and the library is one of our biggest assets,” President Kelly Luther said.

Councilman Roger Sheriff brought up a complaint voiced by members of the New Florence Volunteer Fire Department dissatisfaction with Laurel Valley Ambulance Service's response times.

Emergency Management Director Keith Boring said non-emergency transports to area hospitals was more important to the service than being available for emergency calls. He suggested officials look into getting a new ambulance service to cover the borough.

Sheriff said after meeting with Laurel Valley officials that won't be necessary.

“I'm recommending to the board that we maintain Laurel Valley Ambulance Service the way it is right now. We'll continue to listen to the public and if there are any more problems, we'll deal with them at that time,” he said.

Ambulance service director Christian Scheier said during 2013, Laurel Valley handled 530 calls to 911 and 480 non-emergency transports. In addition, less than half of the 911 calls the service handled required an ambulance.

In other news, the borough is looking for those interested in sitting on the New Florence-St. Clair Sanitary Authority. A seat with a five-year term has become available. Borough residents interested in the council appointment should send letters of interest to the borough, Box 272, New Florence, PA 15944.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or