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Smithton adopts spending plan for 2013

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 9:09 p.m.

Smithton Borough Council adopted a balanced budget Monday night and approved advertising a proposed tax ordinance with no increase.

Council, with members Nancy Poland, Bruce Celapino and Kevin Regotti absent, was unanimous in approving the 2013 spending plan that reflects $130,710 in spending and revenue.

The proposed tax ordinance, if adopted at a special meeting on Monday at 6 p.m., will maintain the current tax rate on real estate at 16 mills.

Income sources in the 2013 budget include $1,008 from state drilling impact fees, $8,500 from the Jones Brewery tax settlement and $28,000 from police service contracts.

The tax settlement from Jones Brewery netted the borough $28,500 which has been deposited in a money market account. There, the money will earn about the same amount of interest as in a certificate of deposit, but the money remains liquid, according to council President Dan Barthels.

Council decided to earmark $8,500 of that money in the budget to be used for long-needed infrastructure repairs, Barthels said. Examples given were street repairs, catch basin maintenance and the sidewalk outside the borough building.

The income from police service contracts includes Madison Borough and, beginning in January, Sutersville Borough. Council signed the contract to provide police service to Sutersville at Monday's meeting. Terms are identical to the contract with Madison, except all fines will be retained by Smithton.

Barthels said, “We'll be starting next year off pretty good. Better than we have the last few years, so we'll try to keep that going.”

In other business, council opened bids from four companies proposing to be the borough's refuse hauler for the next three years.

The borough's current hauler, County Hauling, was the lowest bidder, actually lowering its rates from the current level for Smithton residents.

In the first year, the rate is $11.25 per month, $11.50 in the second year and $11.75 in the third year. Seniors are given a 10 percent discount. The current rate is $14.19 per month.

All the council members present and Mayor Christine Tutena praised County Hauling's service and the bid was unanimously approved.

Council also considered a bid from Fred Moran of Sutersville to provide animal control services to the borough. The matter was tabled for next month to allow time to get more information from other municipalities including the county and state.

Addressing the issue of the drop box that used to be in the borough building vestibule, council unanimously voted to have the single drop box reinstalled with access available only to bonded individuals of the borough or municipal authority.

Councilman Robert Prah had requested the matter be tabled at last month's meeting pending the answering of certain questions by the borough's solicitor. Having been satisfied in that respect, Prah made the motion to reinstall the original drop box.

Tom Haynes, who was present, will be advising the municipal authority board of the council's vote at the authority's meeting this week.

In an unrelated matter, Mayor Tutena reported that the borough's light-up event on Dec. 1 went quite well. She said it was probably the second biggest turnout ever and she encouraged everyone who did not attend to consider going to next year's.

William S. Zirkle is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bzirkle@tribweb.com or 724-872-6800.

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