By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — The Borough Council has adopted a preliminary $1.4 million budget for 2014 that carries no tax increase after learning of a $115,000 surplus.
The council had considered raising real estate taxes by one-half mill to counter the declining tax base, but members opted against it after being informed there would be plenty of money left over from the 2013 spending plan of $1.39 million.
Borough Manager Paul Williams said a large portion of the $115,000 in unspent funds is salaries set aside for two new police officer positions that weren’t filled until recently.
Christopher Fortin and part-time officer Francis Petrovich have been tapped to serve as full-time patrolmen.
“It’s great that we don’t have to raise taxes,” council President Brian Farrell said, adding that the borough has many volunteers pitching in.
The council adopted the tentative $1.4 million budget that will keep the millage rate at 16 mills. A final spending plan will be ratified Dec. 19.
Funds that are carried over from this year will be transferred into the general budget, said Williams. A portion of the money will be used to improve streets and signs and possibly hire a planning adviser to consult with the borough on revising the zoning ordinance and subdivision land development regulations.
“The borough is built out and this would offer a blueprint for growth and development,” he said.
In other business, the council agreed to give the Dauntless Hook & Ladder Fire Company $50,000 next year, but was reluctant to commit to multi-year funding.
The council agreed to reconsider next year the fire company’s request for an additional $25,000 from the Rudy Gelnett Trust to help offset new equipment expenses.
Fire volunteers noted that the Selinsgrove Community Library received $30,000 a year for five years from the fund, but it was pointed out that the library also must raise matching funds.