Modest rate increases, no tax hikes in Schuylkill Haven
Schuylkill Haven City Council tentatively approved a draft budget for the New Year on November 2. Borough residents should see no increase in borough taxes, although a slight increase is likely for sewerage and electricity.
The preliminary budget is balanced, Councilor Kurt Montz said. It provides for a $5 increase in sanitation bills and a 3% increase in electricity bills.
Montz congratulated the borough’s finance committee and everyone who worked on the preliminary budget. He noted that residents will not lose any services, see any increase in municipal taxes and experience only a very small increase in their sewerage and electricity bills, much lower than those of many neighboring municipalities.
Montz said the borough is absorbing a portion of the necessary sewer rate increase in an effort to keep rates for residents as low as possible while maintaining a balanced budget.
Council members present unanimously approved the preliminary budget. Councilors Kevin Kline and John Williams were absent.
In other cases, council approved a resolution that borough attorney Mark Semanchik described as a follow-up to Bill 57, which requires municipalities to pass a resolution that grants the local tax collector the ability to waive fees and penalties in specific situations.
Semanchik used the example of a house that changed hands just at tax time and the bill got lost on transfer, went unpaid, and then went to county collections. Semanchik’s resolution gives the borough tax collector the opportunity to correct the problem if necessary. Council accepted and passed the resolution.
Council approved permission from the Recreation Commission to purchase $2,000 worth of trout to stock Stoyer Dam and the Schuylkill River for the Fishing Tournament.
Council approved allowing the Fire Police to hold a boot drive. Councilman Tom Gordon questioned the need for fundraising and asked if the borough could just directly help firefighters with their needs. Montz said the borough had recently provided money to meet some of the firefighters’ needs, but they still needed more funds.
Borough Administrator Jessica Seiders reported that the ongoing electrical substation upgrade project is progressing significantly. There have been some delays with some aspects of the project that could stretch into January, but overall the borough is very pleased with the progress. The project should provide the borough with the most reliable electricity possible.
Resident Ruth Tucci participated in public comments, raising concerns about excessive speeding on Route 61, an issue she has repeatedly raised in past meetings,
“Route 61 has (recently) had no less than 10 accidents. People are still speeding. I want to know who I can write to thank them for killing our loved ones,” Tucci joked. great with our tax money.”
Montz said he agrees with Tucci’s concerns and said he recently spoke to the chef. He said he would encourage the mayor to speak with the chief and state police to look for ways to team up and resolve the issue while investigating other possible solutions through available means.
Mayor Michael Devlin said the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree will take place on Nov. 27. Positive improvements were also mentioned on the Tumbling Run trail.