Borough of Laurel Mountain Minutes
Regular Monthly Meeting Held August 19, 2009
Present: Griffith, Snyder, Kinsey, Holland, Mayor Light, Solicitor Miller
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm with a quorum present. The minutes of the July 15, 2009 meeting were approved as corrected. The following reports were submitted to council:
(NOTE: Treasurer’s Report not included due to formatting problems in the posting. It is available from Borough Council members.)
Representatives from LMP, Inc were presented to report on the status of the 2009 swimming season. It was noted that due to poor weather conditions usage of the pool was down this season. The park association
budget has been strained because of the low usage and they are facing a shortfall. Park association representatives requested that council consider advancing the third quarter rental payment of $750 so that the park association can cover expenses through the end of the season. They also requested that consider an increase for the 2010 fiscal year. Council discussed this request. It was noted that the Park Association receives approximately 8.25% of the Borough’s overall budget. Mrs. Kinsey felt it reasonable to advance the $750 third quarter payment to get the park association through the budget shortfall. After additional discussion a motion was made by Mrs. Kinsey, seconded by Ms. Snyder to advance the third quarter payment to the park association, carried.
Mayor’s Report: None
Municipal Services Committee:
The Beechwood project has been finished and the project came in a little over the estimate due to digging difficulties and changes in pipe and the required removal of two trees. There should be enough funds from the DCED grant even after the Davis Construction work to cover this overrun.
Finance Committee: No old
Mayor Light reported that July was not a busy month for the police; they logged 5:53 and assisted with one ambulance call. No new information is available regarding the investigation of threats made against the police and borough residents. It was noted that the suspect has been spending less time in the borough.
Mayor Light noted that PADot has painted a solid yellow line at the route 30 entrance to the borough. The entrance is hard to see as it is and the double yellow line makes it very difficult to see where to enter. Mayor Light has contacted Representative Reese regarding this matter. He has also notified PADot.
Municipal Services Committee:
Pot holes have been forming on some borough roads, Mr. Holland will make repairs as time permits.
Ms. Snyder reported that there is a significant gap in the budget under the category of Real Estate tax, collections have been down over the past two years and the budgeted figure may be off. Real Estate transfer taxes are also lower than budget.
Council discussed the sewage agreement, Solicitor Miller noted that the agreement contains basically all of the changes that council had requested and recommended that council take action on this agreement. Mr. Griffith voiced concern over whether borough residents would be treated the same as all others participating in the project, that all borough property owners would have access to a tap, even on undeveloped properties and the benefits assessment. Solicitor Miller noted that the agreement had been changed to accommodate these concerns. Another concern is that Gibson Thomas Exhibit A does not exist. If the plan doesn’t exist, how can council be asked to agree to it. Solicitor Miller noted that Exhibit A will not exist until the plan is engineered; there is considerable expense in the engineering. After further discussion, council opted to table action on this agreement September meeting.
Solicitor Miller noted that Act 32 will do away with local earned income tax collectors. A new entity has been created to collect these taxes. The formation of this entity will unify the collection of local earned income taxes. The Borough needs to appoint a delegate to the Tax Collection Committee prior to September 15. If council opts not to appoint a delegate, the borough can opt to assign the borough’s votes to a neighboring municipality. After discussion, a motion was made by Mr. Griffith, seconded by Mrs. Kinsey to appoint Mary Jane Snyder to serve as the borough’s delegate to this committee, further council appointed Craig Miller to serve as the alternate delegate – carried.
Mrs. Kinsey noted that her place on council will need to be filled in January.
The PSAB Fall Conference will be held October 15-17 in Erie for anyone wishing to attend.
It was reported that House Bill 1500 includes legislation that would impose a per capita fee of $52/per head for municipalities without police departments. These funds would help defray the expenses incurred by the state police. Municipalities with police coverage through neighboring municipalities would be charged a slightly lower rate. This has not been released out of committee yet and it is anticipated that it will fail and will not go on to the Senate.
Council discussed the Comcast Franchise Agreement. The issue with this agreement is the length, 15 years and the fact that if council requests an increase in the franchise fee, this will be passed along to borough residents and all residents in the borough do not use Comcast. Mrs. Kinsey and Mr. Holland were against an increase in the fee. Mrs. Kinsey suggested that council leave it at 3%. Mr. Griffith agreed that it is not good to hide a tax the way this is done, but increasing the percentage would mean a modest increase in revenue for the borough when other areas have been decreasing. After additional discussion and a motion which failed for the lack of a second, council opted to leave the agreement for a vote when there is a full council present.
1. DCED Grant
Municipal Services Committee:
1. Sewage agreement
1. Replacement for Mrs. Kinsey (as of January)
2. Comcast Franchise Agreement
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.