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East Greenville 2018 Draft Budget Calls for Tax Decrease
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            East Greenville Borough Council introduced a 2018 draft budget Tuesday that reduces property taxes. The members voted unanimously to advertise a $1.453 million budget with a .50 millage reduction.

            Member Marita Thomson's presentation calls for dropping the rate from 6.75 mills to 6.25 mills. After the meeting, she estimated that the reduction would provide approximately $55 in savings for a property appraised at $110,000.

            Borough officials won't need to borrow from savings for the first time in a couple years, according to council President Tracey Hunsinger.

            During the meeting, Thomson explained that projected savings related to the creation of the East Greenville Borough Police Department allow municipal officials to reduce the tax rate and spend additional money on road repairs.

            According to Mayor Ryan Sloyer, municipal officials have budgeted $403,000 for the police department. He characterized that line item as creating a projected savings of $274,000 for the borough based on historical allocations.

            "Those numbers are true and accurate for next year's savings," Sloyer said during the public meeting.

            Municipal officials have allocated $137,000 to be used for road maintenance, according to Thomson. She said money has also been set aside to allow the borough to purchase a hydro-excavator.

            One audience member questioned Sloyer's calculations. Keith Gerhart, a mayoral candidate in next month's General Election, argued that the projected police savings were based on figures that do not exist.

            "You can take that $274,000 number and toss it," Gerhart said during the meeting.

            The discussion triggered a series of outbursts between members of the community and borough officials. Hunsinger asked the audience to allow one speaker at a time and direct all comments to council.

            Mike Schwenk objected to a side-bar conversation, during a comment from the audience, between Solicitor Stephen Kramer and member Chrystal Connolly. An argument between Schwenk and Kramer ensued.

            "Class act," Kramer said during the exchange with Schwenk.

            Hunsinger then recessed the meeting for nine minutes to allow the audience to calm down.

            In other police news, member Joseph Arahill said the conversion of the Colonial Village Clubhouse to a police station is "materially complete." The members also approved two change orders to the project. The first calls for a decrease of $1,174.50. The other adds $729.30 to the cost for the replacement of an existing water heater platform and the addition of six linear feet of a partition wall.

            According to Connolly, the municipality borrowed $90,000 from its water fund to help fund the renovation. Thomson told the audience borough officials will pay the loan back over five years.

            Council also voted to create a civil service commission, which will oversee the hiring and overseeing any disciplinary issues related to the borough police department. The members are looking to fill the three-person commission with one person from council and two residents, according to Hunsinger. She said three alternate members will also be sought. Interested applicants should submit letters to borough council on 4 p.m. on November 3.






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