RIMERSBURG – Meeting for the second time in November, Rimersburg Borough Council unanimously adopted a preliminary budget for 2019 on Monday, Nov. 19, holding the line on property taxes.
The budget is expected to be formally adopted at the group’s next meeting in December.
During the budget discussion portion of the meeting, the council approved a proposal from the Charles Leach Agency regarding commercial and workers’ compensation insurance. The proposal included the adoption of Glatfelter Insurance for commercial liability, as well as AmTrust for workers’ compensation.
Council members also approved a motion to change their employees’ health insurance plans from a UPMC Gold PPO plan to EPO. Savings accrued in the switch are said to total $3,441. Members indicated that either choice in coverage was identical in terms of doctors, co-pays, deductibles and formularies. With the savings, the full deductible amount of $1,500 for employees’ health insurance will be paid by the borough for 2019, as compared to when half the deductible amount was paid in 2018. The motion also included a 25 cent per hour pay increase for employees.
With those changes, the borough’s estimated general fund budget for the 2019 fiscal year remained in the red with a $5,877 deficit. Generally, actual end-of-year funds do not show a negative balance, as proposed budgets purposefully overestimate expenses and underestimate income. Both the borough water fund and sewer fund’s net income surpassed the break-even point at $21,223 and $11,091 respectively.
The budget was approved unanimously, along with the tax ordinance which maintains property tax levels in 2019.
Council member Scott Myers said he, along with council member Mark Deeter and council president Roger Crick met with New Bethlehem Borough Council members as well as new police chief Robert Malnofsky Jr. The groups discussed the police presence within the region the police department serves going forward, and the reasoning behind the increased cost for local municipalities in new contracts between towns.
According to Myers, the police department told the groups that the 10 percent increase for 2019 is related to more time being spent responding to calls within respective boroughs.
“I think he has a good vision,” Myers said of the new chief. “Like I told (New Bethlehem Borough), I’m not here to bash or rip the ones that were here before, but we had some issues. It sounded like a lot of other boroughs had some also with management. It wasn’t so much the police force. It was just management and enforcing ordinances.”
Myers said he did not want to lose the agreement between the police department and the borough. He also noted that within a new contract, boroughs would be charged $30 per hour for every hour over and above the allotted 160 hours per month for court time. Myers also noted that the police department intends to balance hours from week to week as much as possible so as to lessen the chances of additional charges.
Council member Dan Stewart said he had noticed an increased police presence within the borough since Malnofsky took over.
Crick also said the council could show the new police chief the former borough council room in the Rimersburg Community Building as a potential sub-station, as Malnofsky had expressed interest in instituting a secondary station within the borough.
Ultimately, the council unanimously approved a motion to renew the contract between the borough and police on a year-to-year basis.
- The council expressed its intention to purchase a new street sweeper. A resolution was made to apply for a 2018 County Liquid Fuels Grant in order to pay for the street sweeper.
- Crick indicated he received an estimate from surveyor Fox & Fox Inc. relating to a potential survey of the borough lines. The estimate is said to be in the range of $10,000 to $15,000. Crick said a survey would not only define the borough lines, but specific positions of infrastructure such as sewers and water valves. “There’s some exciting stuff to be done here in the next couple years,” Crick said. “It would help our maintenance guys as well as our law enforcement in knowing where our town is and isn’t.”
- Council unanimously approved the payment of $1,724 from highway aid funds to Ashland Township for three skids of calcium at $10.45 per bag.