Thursday, December 8, 2016

Borough Council Faces four Budget Options

Photos by Evan Brandt

When borough council takes to the dias Monday night, its members will face a choice among four budget options.

According to Borough Manager Mark Flanders, the first option is for council to adopt the budget it advertised, which raises taxes 3.49 percent and is an annual increase of $29.68 on a property assessed at $85,000 -- the borough median.

The second choice is to vote on a budget that only raises taxes by 1.24 percent, which represents an annual increase of only $10.51 on the median tax bill. It is an option achieved by making some changes to which funds certain costs are assigned, Flanders said.

And finally, said Flanders, council can achieve a zero tax hike by not filling a soon-to-be vacant position on the police force, and eliminating an administrative position in the Human Resources department.

But Council Vice President Sheryl Miller doesn't like those options, so she presented a fourth; that a new police officer be hired but the administrative position be eliminated.

"We can't afford to reduce the police force," said Miller.

She said that would result in an annual increase of $8.86 for an assessment of $85,000, but that could not be confirmed Wednesday night by Finance Director Janice Lee.

Flanders warned against allowing the gap between revenues and expenses to continue expanding, particularly as it relates to not putting money into the borough's capital fund.

And Council President Dan Weand noted that "an organizations greatest asset is its people. Maybe you can cut back on salt or something, but once you start cutting back on people, work doesn't get done."
From left, Police Captain Robert Thomas and Chaplain
Everett Debnam, 
congratulate Rommell and Deavona Robinson
for the award just 
presented by Mayor Sharon Thomas and
Police Chief Rick Drumheller. 

Mayor Sharon Thomas noted that whichever budget council ultimately adopts, it pales in comparison to the 11 percent tax hike now being proposed by the Montgomery County Commissioners.

On a happier note, council also recognized Rommell and Deavona Robinson with a Civilian Service Award for saving the life of someone apparently suffering from an over-dose.

It happened in October and, according to Thomas, the victim was found not breathing and without a pulse, but the couple immediately began CPR and saved the victim's life.

"I mean we showed up when we got the call, but they are the people who saved this person's life," said Police Chief Rick Drumheller.

There were some other items of interest -- such as Miller's suggestion that Jeff Chomnuk not be re-appointed to the Pottstown Borough Authority because of how she was treated when she was late with a bill.

We all hope this has nothing to do with the two running against each other for the Third Ward seat on borough council three years ago.

That said, here are the Tweets...

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