Bath council fields budget questions
At the Nov. 7 Bath Borough Council meeting, council planned to vote on the 2023 borough budget.
Council reportedly expected some public dissent since the budget has a tax hike. Bath has successfully held the line on taxes for many years, according to borough Manager Brad Flynn.
During the meeting, a resident asked pointed questions about the budget process and line items. The gentleman noted he does not understand how the borough saved about $2,000,000 over the past few years by contracting police services to the Pennsylvania State Police and needs to raise property taxes.
”Costs go up every year,” Flynn commented. “Much money was put into Bath roads, with many roads redone.”
Flynn noted taxes were essentially not raised in 10 years.
Borough Solicitor James Kratz reported the state mandate for the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System program is expected to run $400,000 as initial funding, with more costs expected. The MS4 focuses on managing discharges into waters by educating and implementing proper control measures and best management practices. The MS4 goal is to reduce pollutants in impaired waterways so water quality standards are met.
“There was $400,000 for that and $300,000 to fix roads,” Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito said. “Council works very hard in a thankless job.”
All tax dollars go back to the borough to make the borough better, she added.
The mayor also explained when people make Right to Know requests, it costs the borough significant tax dollars. She noted she is frustrated by this needless expense when people could simply ask council or the borough manager for an answer.
The Pennsylvania Right to Know Act is considered a citizen’s right to having questions answered that may not be answered by public officials.
In other business, council passed ordinance 2022-723, which sets the tax rate for 2023, increasing the borough’s general-purpose millage from 13.5 to 15.2, also retaining the debt service millage of 1.25 mills, and retaining the fire tax at 0.5 mill.
Ordinance 2022-724 was passed, amending the vehicle and traffic ordinance eliminating Broad and Washington streets from the borough’s snow emergency routes.
Council approved resolution 2022-016 adopting the 2023 schedule of fees. Flynn indicated there were no substantial fee hikes in the resolution.
Ordinances and resolutions are available to review by contacting the borough office or visiting bathborough.org.
Council tabled the vote on approving an additional member to the borough rental license and inspection board of appeals. Dustin Goldfarb is the applicant.
Borough Vice President Frank Hesch announced that, possibly beginning this month, the borough hall chamber will be locked at the start of the council meeting. Anyone showing up late will have to be buzzed in to increase security.
Hesch also noted the candy cane hunt and other holiday activities in the borough are in the planning stage, and the 2023 Old Home weekend is set for Aug. 10-13, 2023, with details forthcoming.
Phyllis Andrews, of the environmental steering committee, indicated J.P. Mascaro & Sons trash-hauling company will begin Jan. 1, 2023. The bright red Mascaro garbage cans will not be used in the borough. During the last Mascaro trash-hauling contract, many residents reportedly complained about the large red cans being an eyesore.
The next Bath Borough Council meeting is 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at borough hall, 121 S. Walnut St. It is a hybrid meeting, with both in-person and virtual options. Visit bathborough.org for the access codes to view virtually.