No Tax Increase In Wyalusing Township Budget
By Rick Hiduk
Wyalusing Township Supervisors moved efficiently through a full agenda at their monthly meeting on Dec. 6, passing an annual budget that includes no increase in taxes, augmenting township emergency coordinator Larry Kneller’s involvement with state emergency management officials, and struggling with the prospect of funding the reconstruction of Bowling Alley Road with no real guarantee of reimbursement from FEMA.
After the payroll and bills were approved, secretary Maxine Meteer presented an annual request from the Bradford County Humane Society for $260.82 from the township, which helps to maintain the relationship between the municipality and its residents and the animal welfare agency. Meteer also opened the sole bid for delivery of cinders to the township from Dave Stryker Trucking and Excavating of Muncy. The proposed contract represented a nominal per-ton increase over last year’s agreement with the same company and was quickly approved.
Meteer also introduced an invitation for the township to subscribe to the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ Emergency Management Officer’s Program, which would provide training, resources, and consultation for the municipality’s emergency management coordinator, a job assumed by Larry Kneller in the wake of numerous weather-related disasters this past year. At $125, Meteer suggested that the program would be worth the enrollment fee for at least one year to see if Kneller feels that he benefits from the association.
Supervisor Lanny Stethers said, “Larry has done an excellent job for us, and this sounds like a pretty good deal for Larry to network with people.”
Kneller agreed that participation in the program would be worth a trial run, and the motion was unanimously approved.
On the topic of selling the township’s old work truck and the plow attached to it, supervisor Art Allyn suggested selling both pieces as a unit, admitting that the truck has developed mechanical problems and would be sold “as is.” He will provide all specs for Maxine Meteer to advertise the vehicle and apparatus shortly.
Chairman Marvin Meteer announced that proposals have been drawn up for repairs to County Bridge and Bowling Alley Roads, both of which suffered considerable damage in September due to flooding. The work on County Bridge Road, he noted is not very complicated, and he asked for a motion to proceed with that project. He was hesitant to move forward with soliciting contractors for Bowling Alley Road, however, because the $500,000 price tag would have to be covered up front by the township, with the expectation that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would later reimburse the municipality. The proposal has already been filed with the agency, he noted, and his FEMA contacts have approved the project.
High cost not withstanding, Meteer said that he is particularly leery about going ahead with the repairs to Bowling Alley Road because nearby municipalities are only now receiving FEMA reimbursements for repairs to roads damaged by flooding in April.
Stethers suggested that the impact on Wyalusing Township residents by the temporary closure of Bowling Alley Road is limited and doesn’t warrant immediate action. At the same time, however, he and his fellow board members wondered aloud how long they might be able to hold out on starting the project without missing the opportunity altogether for FEMA reimbursement. Meteer said that he would contact FEMA again to see what the timeline was and report it at the next regular meeting.
Marvin Meteer indicated that the township and Wyalusing Borough representatives will be meeting again soon to iron out the language of a joint water authority agreement that will provide water service for residents in the eastern part of the township.
Maxine Meteer spelled out the details of the 2012 township budget, which is calculated in two parts—one solely dedicated to township business and the second more closely associated business conducted with the state. The resulting figures required no increase in taxes for residents. The first part of the budget includes an estimate of $331,835 in income and $329,860 in expenditures. The second segment of the budget includes an estimate of $136,580 in state funding and $129,500 in spending.
“I’m comfortable with it,” Allyn said of the budget draft before lending his approval.
“I am too,” said Stethers, “though it doesn’t leave much room for error.” He commended Meteer for her work on the project.
The budget must be advertised for 20 days, so the supervisors will meet again at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28 to consider final approval.
Before adjourning the meeting, Marvin Meteer updated those in attendance on the progress of Pennsylvania House and Senate versions of the Marcellus Shale Bill, also known as the Impact Fee Bill. While there are some subtle differences between them, he noted, legislators appear to be anxious to pass a compromised version of the bill before the end of the year and possibly as early as next week. Nonetheless, he remarked, “It’s really difficult to predict where this is going to end up.”