Coun­cil OKS bud­get; holds line on taxes, low­ers trash fees

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By D.E. Sch­lat­ter

MOR­RISVILLE BOR­OUGH -- In a split vote, Bor­ough Coun­cil voted to DSSURvH D finDO $5,660,929 EuGJHt IRU thH 2013 fiVFDO year which con­tains no tax hikes and gives res­i­dents a $20 VDvLnJV Rn thHLU yHDUOy trash costs.

On DHF. 10 FRunFLO vRtHG 5-3 tR DFFHSt thH tHn­tD­tive bud­get which was ap­proved last month, with coun­cil mem­bers Deb­bie Smith, Todd San­ford and Eileen Dreis­bach dis­sent­ing.

Bor­ough man­ager Tom Bates said that the bud­get, whLFh tDkHV HIIHFt -Dn. 1, is go­ing to be tight with­out rais­ing taxes, but will keep mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices at cur­rent lev­els.

In ad­di­tion, the bor­ough’s tDx UDtH wLOO UHmDLn Dt 40.93 mills, with the av­er­age hRmHRwnHU wLth D $20,000 as­sess­ment paying about $820 Ln SURSHUty tDxHV.

One of the key points is an­other de­crease in res­i­den­tial trash fees, which wLOO GURS IURm $305 SHU hRuVHhROG Ln 2012 tR $285 Ln 2013, thH VHFRnG VtUDLJht year the fees have de­clined. How­ever, the com­mer­cial rates will re­main the same Dt $590.

Bates noted that the lower costs for res­i­dents was pos­si­ble be­cause the bor­ough has so far col­lected mRUH thDn $123,000 RI thH URuJhOy $600,000 Ln GHOLn­quent trash fees in an on­go­ing pro­gram.

The bor­ough’s to­tal san­i­ta­tion ex­penses for the FRmLnJ fiVFDO yHDU DUH HVtLmDtHG Dt URuJhOy $1.03 mil­lion.

Mean­while, the pro­posed fiVFDO SDFkDJH DOORFDtHV $1,604,233 IRU thH SROLFH GHSDUt­mHnt, DERut 30 SHU­cent of the Mor­risville’s over­all bud­get.

ThH 10 IuOO-tLmH RI­fiFHUV will earn a lit­tle more than $63,000 Ln 2013. ThDt LnFOuGHV thH 2.5-SHUFHnt SDy raise as stip­u­lated un­der the ar­bi­tra­tion award ac­cepted by bor­ough coun­cil in Au­gust. De­pend­ing on length of ser­vice, full-time RI­fiFHUV wLOO DOVR UHFHLvH DnRthHU 2.5 tR 3.5 SHUFHnt of their an­nual salary in longevity pay.

The four part-time of­fiFHUV wLOO HDUn $19.76 Dn hour, with the po­lice chief’s VDODUy VHt Dt $82,103.

In ad­di­tion, the po­lice EuGJHt LnFOuGHV $34,000 for a new, fully-equipped po­lice car, and also pro­vides the bor­ough’s full and SDUt-tLmH RI­fiFHUV Dn DOORwance for uni­forms.

AnRthHU $20,000 wDV DGGHG tR thH 2013 EuGJHt for the pur­chase of new po­lice ra­dios, bring­ing the an­tic­i­pated to­tal cost to about $67,000.

Ac­cord­ing to bor­ough RI­fiFLDOV, BuFkV CRunty LV help­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments to take out loans to off­set the ex­pense of buy­ing new emer­gency ser­vices ra­dio equip­ment to meet the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion man­dates that take ef­fect next Oc­to­ber re­quir­ing a change in broad­cast fre­quen­cies.

UnGHU thH finDO EuGJHt, both non-union an union non-uni­formed mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees will re­ceive a three-per­cent pay raise next year, with school cross­ing guards and park work­ers UHFHLvLnJ D fivH-SHUFHnt salary boost.

The salary for the bor­ough man­ager, a con­tract SRVLtLRn, LV VHt Dt $45,000.

About a tenth of the mu­nic­i­pal bud­get cov­ers ad­min­is­tra­tive costs, with $223,835 HDUmDUkHG IRU recre­ation pro­grams and MuVt unGHU $210,000 tR RS- er­ate the bor­ough’s pub­lic li­brary next year.

How­ever, the bud­get is lean on pro­vid­ing money for trim­ming and re­mov­ing bor­ough-owned shade tUHHV. OnOy $15,225 LV VHt aside for shade trees next year, an al­lo­ca­tion which has con­cerned sev­eral coun­cil mem­bers, es­pe­cially in light of the dam­age caused by Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

Dur­ing the storm, about 60-70 tUHHV wHUH uSURRtHG, wLth DERut 20 IDOOLnJ Rn houses and cars, ac­cord­ing tR ERURuJh RI­fiFLDOV.

ThH 2013 EuGJHt DOVR VHtV DVLGH nHDUOy $165,000 to pay for op­er­at­ing and main­tain­ing street light­ing, a cost Mor­risville is try­ing to dras­ti­cally cut.

In Au­gust, bor­ough coun­cil voted to pay John­son Con­trols, Inc., an en­gi­neerLnJ FRnVuOtLnJ fiUm, mRUH thDn $26,000 tR FRnGuFt D study of how the bor­ough FDn LmSURvH HnHUJy HI­fi­ciency, such as in­stalling new HID or LED street lights.

Coun­cil mem­bers had ex­pected John­son Con­trols to make its rec­om­men­da­tions in Oc­to­ber, but a for­mal report is not ex­pected for sev­eral more months.

Ac­cord­ing to Bates, the bor­ough cur­rently spends DERut $120,000 D yHDU tR keep the street lights on, a cost which he said could be UHGuFHG tR DURunG $70,000 wLth hLJh-tHFh HnHUJy HI­fi­cient light­ing.

“The new lights we would be buy­ing would also be JuDUDn­tHHG 30 yHDUV,” hH nRtHG. “WH VSHnG $25,000 a year on main­te­nance DORnH.”

The bor­ough man­ager ex­plained that a new light­ing sys­tem, if ap­proved by coun­cil, would “not FRVt tDxSDyHUV DnythLnJ” be­cause of the sav­ings in elec­tric­ity and re­plac­ing bulbs.

An out­side loan would be se­cured to up­grade the street light­ing sys­tem, with the sav­ings used to pay off the loan.

At the meet­ing, Bates also an­nounced that he signed a con­tract for an up­dated tele­phone sys­tem for munLFLSDO RI­fiFHV Ln whLFh the bor­ough will re­ceive new LED phones that can han­dle more in­com­ing calls at one time.

In ad­di­tion to un­lim­ited re­gional and na­tional call­ing, the new sys­tem will also pro­vide an un­der­ground lan­d­line which can still op­er­ate in an emer- gency, such as dur­ing the re­cent su­per storm.

Bates also told coun­cil that he re­newed the con­tract with Ex­elon which will save the bor­ough an DGGLtLRnDO 14-SHUFHnt Ln HOHFtULFLty FRVtV Ln 2013.

In other ac­tion, coun­cil vRtHG 6-2 tR DSSURvH D mR­tion des­ig­nat­ing the bor­ough man­ager or bor­ough sec­re­tary as cus­to­dian of records and to not to al­low Dny RI­fiFLDO GRFumHnt Rut of the build­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to bor­ough so­lic­i­tor James Downey, orig­i­nal records can still be viewed and pho­to­copied by the pub­lic.

“This pre­cludes mov­ing orig­i­nal records from the build­ing, so they can’t be ORVt,” hH HxSODLnHG.

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