Trafford Council gives $2,500 grants to four community groups
Four community groups in Trafford are getting $2,500 grants from the borough's coffers.
Trafford Council voted unanimously March 19 to approve grants for the Trafford Community Public Library summer reading program; the Trafford Economic and Community Development Corp.'s plans to buy seasonal banners in the business district; the Holiday Happenings committee for decorations and lighting; and the Trafford-Level Green Christian Food Bank for holiday meals.
Council set aside $15,000 in the 2013 budget for grants.
The Trafford Emergency Medical Services previously received $5,000 — the maximum available grant — to help buy a $25,000 battery-powered stretcher.
Councilman John Daykon said he hopes the borough will have more funding available for grants next year.
Residents soon will be able to pay bills and fees by credit or debit card.
The borough is preparing to accept credit payments for sewage bills, but customers will have to pay a 3 percent surcharge. In time, residents will be able to pay park rental and permit fees by credit, too, Daykon said.
Council is waiving the police officers' contributions to the borough's police pension plan this year.
Solicitor Craig Alexander described the borough's fund as “sufficiently solvent.” The borough also waived the contributions other times in recent years, he said.
The Public Employee Retirement Commission, a state agency that analyses and regulates plans, reported in December that Trafford had about $569,600 available to pay the estimated $702,700 in pension liabilities.
At 81 percent funded, PERC classifies the fund as “minimally distressed.” State officials consider plans “not distressed” when they are at least 90-percent funded.
Manor Council also waived officers' contributions for 2013.
That borough's plan is 159-percent funded, according to PERC.
With one public-works employee still on medical leave, Trafford officials plan to hire a temporary worker to cover 40 hours a week.
Jerry Dorsey will remain off for another month, leaving two full-time workers on the job, Councilman Henry Schultz said.
“We are very strapped to do things that everyone wants done,” he said.
Council is advertising to hire a temporary worker for $12 an hour until Dorsey's return. The temp would not receive any benefits.
After budgeting about $150,000 for new parking lots, Trafford will have about $200,000 left in its general fund as the bulk of tax revenues start to come in during April, Councilman John Daykon said.
Council is advertising for bids to pave Cavitt Avenue parking lots for the community room and the paving of the parking lot for the public works building off Route 993.
In refinancing its debts last year, Trafford used some proceeds from a bond issue to stabilize its general fund.
Council didn't have to take out a tax-anticipation loan, Daykon said.
“We're sitting in a very good situation right now,” he said.
Some business owners who are planning to put up a new sign advertising the borough's commercial district and their businesses want council to waive a portion of the fee.
Council members said they would consider waiving costs related to graphics promoting the district but charge a square-footage fee based on the advertising for their businesses. The borough's sign ordinance lists a $25 flat fee and a $2.50 charge per square foot.
Brandon Lacina of Digital Trafford said the businesses are planning a 600-square-foot sign.
Councilwoman Vicki Megon said she is interested in working with the businesses but doesn't want to disregard the ordinance because the borough has charged other businesses for their signs. Other council members said they should discuss revising the sign ordinance to address efforts to beautify the business district.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.