Lewisburg Borough Council adopted its 2021 budget without a tax hike, gave conditional approval to a townhouse development and acknowledged receipt, but didn’t address, neighboring East Buffalo Township’s request to meet and revise the disputed intergovernmental contract for the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department.
Council members met virtually Tuesday and voted in approval of a balanced budget totaling a combined $6,579,646.51 across 19 separate fund accounts. The borough’s general fund, a municipality’s main operating budget, is balanced at $4,017,782.23.
Borough Manager William Lowthert said the final budget remained unchanged from the preliminary version adopted in October.
Property taxes remain at 12.74 mills, meaning property owners will continue to pay a rate of $12.74 on each $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. In 2019, 1 mill of taxes brought in $169,779.50 of revenue, according to Lowthert.
Council members shifted 0.15 mills from debt service and 0.10 mills from fire protection to the regional recreation fund to provide additional money in 2021 to the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority.
The council also moved to provide $25,000 to the Recreation Authority in 2020. The Recreation Authority requested financial help to close out 2020 as its revenue plummeted due to restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Conditional approval was granted for the development of townhouses along Saint Anthony Street where greenhouses are presently located. Conditions include road repairs and a traffic study.
The project developer is Tim Turner of Mifflinburg. He said the plans are to build eight townhouses beginning in the spring with the goal of completing construction in four months. The homes would be marketed to middle-class families, Turner said.
A separate townhouse development behind the GreenSpace Center, the former high school, is also on track, Lowthert said. Developer and stormwater plans have been approved by the borough solicitor and final development plans are in the works, he said.
A letter received from East Buffalo Township is “under consideration” by borough council, Lowthert said. The township requested meetings to review and revise the joint contract governing the regional police department.
Earlier this month, township supervisors proposed the meetings. Should that be declined, they suggested either municipality take sole ownership of the department and sell coverage to the other.
The borough and township are locked in a lawsuit concerning the municipal funding aspect of the police department’s operations.