Committee foresees no new tax increase

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Property owners in the Borough of Punxsutawney will be happy to know that there will be no tax increase next year.

Borough Manager Ben White reported Tuesday during Punxsutawney Borough Council’s Legal & Finance Committee meeting that tax millage will not increase again this year for the fifth-straight year.

Council President Susan Glessner said the last increase in millage was raised by only one mill in 2007.

White added that there was one change in the budget in regards to millage.

“Transferring 1.5 mills from the recreation fund to the library fund,” he said, and that there has been more budget cuts from the state for libraries.

Glessner said libraries continue to have their state funding cut, while committee Chairman Bill Spencer said the state has cut funding to libraries by 30 percent in the last three years.

Glessner said the shift in millage from the Recreation Fund to the Library Fund should give it an extra $11,000 in funding for next year.

Spencer pointed out that the state cut funding, but did not lower mandates on how much the libraries must spend on books and other items annually.

White said if the preliminary budget is passed by council Monday, it will be put on display for 30 days for public inspection. At the Dec. 13 council meeting, council will be asked to give final approval to the budget for 2011.

Also at Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee Meeting:

• Police Chief Tom Fedigan said last Saturday’s Halloween parade and trick-or-treating went off without a hitch. Prior to the parade, Matt Kengersky of Nationwide Insurance-The Kengersky Agency and officers handed out 200 glow sticks. That was the first time that they had ever run out of them.

“Following the parade, we held trick-or-treating, and I have to say that in all of the years I’ve been involved with trick-or-treating, the amount of firefighters, fire police and REACT members out assisting the kids as they made their rounds was the best we ever had,” Fedigan said. “From one end of town to the other was flooded with trick-or-treaters. I want to say again thank you to all of the volunteers — and especially the firefighters, fire police and REACT — for doing an outstanding job this year.”

• Fedigan reported that his department performed two safety details, the first with pedestrian safety at the crosswalk located at East Mahoning Street and North Penn Street.

“It was a cold crisp day, so there weren’t as many pedestrians out as we had hoped,” Fedigan said, adding that there were no violations.

Officers also held a seatbelt check at Punxsutawney Area High School in cooperation with PennDOT and Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police. Officers checked all the seatbelts of students and adults before they were permitted to leave the parking lot at the high school.

• Fedigan said new parking ticket fine boxes have been ordered and will be installed by Public Works employees throughout town once they arrive.