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Pennsburg’s Tentative 2018 Budget Calls for Tax Increase
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Pennsburg Borough Council voted Tuesday to advertise a tentative 2018 budget with a 1 mill tax increase.  The $2.353 million budget will not require a transfer from savings to be balanced, according to council President Kris Kirkwood.

            The tax increase to 6.475 mills will cost the median property owner in the borough an additional $100 to $150 annually, according to borough.

            Municipal officials are expected to ratify the budget and a tax levy ordinance setting the new millage rate at their Dec. 19 public meeting.

            None of the borough's expense increased significantly, according to Kirkwood.

            The borough's largest expense will be public safety, according to Manager Lisa Hiltz. She said municipal officials have budgeted $1.361 million to fund the Upper Perk Police Department. 

            In 2017, the police line item totaled $812,051, according to Hiltz. The projected figure for 2018 includes a $519,000 increase.  After the meeting, Kirkwood explained that council, at the direction of its auditor, included expenses for insurance, electricity and other utilities for the department.

            The tentative budget does not include any allocation for repairs to Fifth and Eighth streets, according to Hiltz.

            In other news, Sandra Kassel, business administrator for the Upper Perkiomen School District, asked the members to hire a crossing guard for an intersection near the high school. She said the district and the borough would equally share the cost for a crossing guard at Montgomery Avenue and 11th Street.

            According to Kassel, a recent study by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation deemed Montgomery Avenue a hazardous walking route. A crossing guard, who would be positioned at the intersection from 7-7:45 a.m. and 2:15-3:15 p.m. each school day, would increase the safety of students crossing the intersection to the high school, she said.

            "That crossing area is not safe," Kassel said.

            Council Vice President Bruce Lord and member Cody Belmont opposed Kassel's proposal. Neither felt comfortable positioning a crossing guard at the four-way intersection, which only has three stop signs. Lord said he was uncomfortable with the borough's liability should the crossing guard get hit by a passing car. 

            "Without the fourth stop sign there, that is an unsafe intersection for a crossing guard," Kirkwood said during the meeting.

            Upper Hanover officials had agreed to add the fourth stop sign as part of the project to construct a new middle school on Montgomery Avenue in the township. However, the agency has no plans to install the sign since the Upper Perkiomen School Board recently voted to terminate the construction, according to Kassel.

            The Upper Perk Police Department responded to 16 crimes in the borough in November, an increase of two crimes from October, according to information provided Sgt. Joe Adam. The department handled three incidents each of theft, vandalism/criminal mischief and driving under the influence, two burglaries/attempted burglary and one each of forgery/fraud/identity theft, sex offense, assault/harassment/stalking, narcotic/drug violation and borough ordinance/other offenses.





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