Big Run council finalizes budget with no tax increase

BIG RUN — Big Run Borough Council gave final approval at Monday’s meeting to its 2011 budget with no tax increase.

Council president Nick Lantz announced at November’s meeting that there was a surplus of $57,635 from this past year.

He pointed out that once again, there would not be a tax increase for borough tax payers, and that the last tax increase in Big Run was more than 20 years ago.

The 2011 tax millage for Big Run is as follows:

• The taxes that will be levied on all real estate within the borough based on the valuation assessed for county purposes with each mill being the equivalent of $0.10 on each $100 of assessed valuation.

• General fund — 2.25 mills; fire apparatus fund — 0.45 mills; recreation fund — 0.30 mills, all of which totals 3.00 mills.

Other taxes to be levied:

• Earned Income Tax — one percent — half percent to the borough and school district; Realty Transfer Tax — one percent; and $52 local services tax to the borough.

• 2011 General Fund projected revenue — $135,360; projected expenditures — $77,725.

Councilman John Niver was the only council member to speak against the budget, suggesting that council should possibly consider a tax increase.

“Anything that needs to be done in the borough will have to be done with grant money, because the borough finances are too tight without a tax increase, right?” Niver asked.

Lantz said that wasn’t completely true.

“We’re $30,000 ahead of where we were last year, and we didn’t worry about it then,” Lantz said.

Niver agreed to also vote yes on adopting the budget.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

• Council member John Smeal reminded council it was time to have the borough’s fire extinguishers serviced by Jawco Fire Extinguisher Co. of Punxsutawney.

Council approved a motion to have all of the extinguishers serviced, including the one on the dump truck.

• Smeal questioned whether a borough resident needed to purchase a building permit from both the borough and through Bureau Veritas if he or she was going to erect a new structure in the borough.

Lantz said residents have always been required to get a building permit from the borough, and that they are required by the state to purchase a permit through Veritas in regards to the state building code.

A Big Run resident had complained to Smeal that both permits together cost $300.

• A motion was approved to retain Keller Engineers as the borough’s engineering firm for the upcoming year.

• Niver asked if council could appoint him as an assistant code enforcement officer because David Rouch, code enforcement officer, is sometimes not available to come and investigate when a violation is observed.

Lantz said he would investigate if Niver could be designated as a deputy code enforcement officer when Rouch is not available.

Niver pointed out that there are a dozen or more junk cars that are known to be visible throughout the borough that are in need of removal.

Denise Elliott, council member, informed council that she had received numerous complaints concerning outdoor furnaces that are in violation of the code and also need to be inspected by the code officer.

• Lantz said Rouch had submitted his resignation as emergency management coordinator for the borough, but agreed to stay on until he found a replacement.

• Lantz reported to council that its new animal ordinance was ready to be advertised and that it could be voted on.

The new ordinance would include all types of animals, including chickens, geese, ducks and fowl, with no animals grandfathered in.

Any owner with a dog that barks for more than 10 minutes would be subject to a fine.

• Council approved a motion to donate $200 to the Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging.

• Council discussed experiencing more difficulties when it comes to the borough dump truck — which is also utilized for plowing snow — as, in addition to other mishaps, the truck recently became stuck in the woods. The truck then had to be towed when it went off the road near the cemetery.

In addition to that instance, Niver reported that Harold Bruner, borough maintenance man, contacted him, saying that the gas tank was leaking on the truck and was in need of repair.

Also, Carmeta States, borough secretary, informed council that the borough received a fine from PennDOT for not having the proper light bar on the back of the dump truck while plowing snow.

Council approved a motion to have Smeal contact a local automotive repair company in an attempt purchase the proper lights and have them installed as soon as possible.