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Pennsburg Agrees to Increase Fire Company, Ambulance Funding
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Two emergency organizations that serve Pennsburg can expect larger financial contributions from the borough. On Tuesday, council reached a preliminary consensus to allocate additional funds to the Pennsburg Volunteer Fire Company and the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance.

            Council voted unanimously to direct the solicitor to craft an ordinance creating a dedicated one-mill tax that is expected to generate approximately $160,000. Three-quarters of the money generated, estimated at $120,000 would be allocated to the fire company. The remaining $40,000 would go to the ambulance organization.

            "There's no question we need to keep these emergency services rolling," Vice President Patrick Suter said prior to the vote. "I don't think anyone would disagree with that."

            Council is planning to vote on the motion in the next month or two, according to council President Diane Stevens. She said after the meeting that the tax increase would be incorporated into the borough's 2024 budget.

            If approved by the members, the allocations would replace the borough's contributions. Municipal officials had planned on donating $94,000 to the fire company and $10,000 to the ambulance corps.

            Bonnie Eisenhart, the ambulance board's new president, and Chief of Operations Keith Long thanked the members for their action. Members of the fire company, including Phil Zirkelbach and Deputy Chief Rob Malay, expressed their appreciation.

            As a condition of the ordinance, both organizations will be required to provide monthly meeting and financial data, as well as any completed audits and tax returns to the municipality. Stevens said the fire company has complied with those conditions for several years.

            Pennsburg last implemented a dedicated fire tax in 2001, according to Administrative Manager Lisa Hiltz. Stevens said it generated approximately $125,000 for debt reduction.

            Fundraising for the company is especially challenging since the organization does not have a social hall, noted the council president. She also identified the overall lack of volunteers.  "Without the volunteer fire company, we'd be in dire straits," Stevens said.

            The members voted to approve an ordinance to create a no-parking zone on a portion of 4th Street. That means parking is not allowed on both sides between Seminary Street and Railroad Avenue, said Member Wayne Stevens.

            Signs have been placed along Dotts Street signifying that construction crews have begun to complete crack sealing in advance of paving that is scheduled to commence around Oct. 10. Wayne Stevens described the current activity as prep work.

"The borough was told this would be happening," Diane Stevens said.

            The members will hold an executive session, via Zoom, on Monday to discuss two issues of real estate litigation. No action is expected.






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