The latest session of the Reynoldsville Borough Council convened on November 20th with Zach Garmin leading the meeting in the absence of Council members William Cebulskie, Kyle Gordon, and Nichole Walk.
After a 40-minute closed-door session addressing legal matters, the council initiated proceedings with public comments. Sam Shaginaw commended Borough Secretary Jacquelyn Dixon for her diligent work on the budget and acknowledged the exemplary performance of the Reynoldsville Volunteer Fire Department. Shaginaw highlighted the department's impressive 84-second response time to recent calls, akin to response times in major cities.
He emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency from emergency services—fire, ambulance, and police departments—regarding their budgets. Shaginaw stressed the necessity for the council to fully comprehend its requirements before allocating funds.
"Our emergency services are pivotal investments showcasing our community's trust and commitment to its enhancement," Shaginaw asserted.
Susan Duffey expressed strong opposition to a proposed shift in tax exonerations, advocating against a flat tax of $120.00 per person annually, except for full-time college students. Duffey argued that this proposed tax structure would unfairly burden those least able to afford it.
The council approved the budget package, including the contentious flat tax, for a 30-day advertisement period. The proposed budget amounts to $1,007,212, marking an increase from the previous year's $916,025, alongside a proposed two-mil tax hike. The final vote on the budget is scheduled for the December 18 meeting.
Code Enforcement Officer Sam Shaginaw presented his report, detailing the identification of 14 vacant properties and addressing 18 parking complaints, resulting in 12 tickets issued and 32 warnings issued. Shaginaw also informed the council of progress regarding a fire-damaged house on East Main Street and developments concerning the Shuttleworth Building on Main Street.
During discussions, Council member Ralph August inquired about the possibility of consolidating trash bills with the water authority's monthly billing. Darren Scolese, a Water Authority board member, clarified that this wasn't feasible due to ARC Disposal being a private entity.
The council also addressed concerns raised by a resident regarding a narrow street obstructed by a parked camper, potentially affecting snow plowing. This issue is slated for further investigation.
Regarding winter maintenance, Council Member August assured that the borough is adequately prepared, affirming, "We're in good shape."
Additionally, the council voted to retract a previously proposed loan from S & T Bank that was deemed unnecessary for covering expenses.