Harveys Lake preliminary budget has no tax hike

By Eileen Godin - egodin@timesleader.com
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HARVEYS LAKE — Borough residents have not had a tax increase for nearly six years, and the preliminary 2018 budget presented by council Tuesday holds that trend.

The $1.4 million preliminary budget — approved in a narrow vote — will maintain the current mill rate of .804, and 1 percent earned income tax rate, Harveys Lake Council President Bill Hilburt said.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

Also, the preliminary budget projects a $9,329 carryover to 2019, Hilburt said.

“There are no major purchases planned,” said Hilburt. “But, if the grants do not come through for the hydrilla treatment — that could take a bite out of the budget.”

Council is seeking a grant to continue the eradication of the invasive aquatic plant in the spring.

The borough received over $100,000 in grant funding from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Water program to treat a 105-acre section of the lake with a systemic herbicide called SonarOne in August.

The preliminary budget did not receive a unanimous vote from the seven-member council.

Council members Hilburt, Thomas Kehler, Michell’e Boice and Ed Kelly approved the tentative plant. But council members Carole Samson, Wayde Post and Daniel F. Blaine voted against it.

“When the new council comes in, they should have an opportunity to make up their own the budget,” Blaine said after the meeting.

Samson, who won the mayoral race on the Republican ballot, agreed with Blaine’s statement.

Charles Chad Flack III will join re-elected incumbent Blaine plus returning council member and former mayor Clarence Hogan on council in January. Flack III, Blaine and Hogan all ran on the Republican ballot.

Hilburt’s council term ends at the end of the year. Hilburt was on the Democratic ticket.

Harveys Lake Council members are elected to four-year terms.

The preliminary budget is in the borough office for residents to review. The proposal will receive a second vote at the Dec. 19 meeting.

In other news:

• Fred Lubnow, director of aquatic programs at Princeton Hydro, is still waiting to hear about a pending $110,000 state Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener grant for further hydrilla eradication in the spring.

The August treatment went very well, Lubnow said.

• Lubnow also reported an existing $90,000 grant will fund a stormwater project along Queen of Peace Road.

“We need to get some additional information to the council and to the property owner,” he said. “Once we get that information to you tomorrow (Wednesday), you can decide whether to move forward with that project or a different project for that specific grant.”

The borough was denied a nearly $190,000 grant through the Chesapeake Bay Program for a stormwater project on Sunset Terrace.

But Harveys Lake has a chance at other funding.

“A month ago, I got a call from DEP. They said they had some extra stormwater money; they asked if I had a project,” Lubnow said. “Harveys Lake just happens to have a project that wasn’t funded.”

Lubnow submitted a grant application for the Sunset Terrace project and is waiting to hear from DEP.

• Council members approved a motion to apply for a $30,000 Local Share Account grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority to purchase a solar-powered message sign and more speed minders, council’s Boice said.

Speed minders are digital-speed awareness signs. The borough already has some strategically placed along Lakeside Drive.

• The next council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, in the borough building.

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By Eileen Godin

egodin@timesleader.com

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews