HYDETOWN — The second reading of Hydetown’s 2020 budget was passed at the borough council meeting on Monday, with only little change compared to last year’s budget.
The $74,700 financial plan calls for no change to Hydetown’s millage rate of 5.5. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed value. The 2019 budget came in at $74,150.
In terms of increases to individual funds expenses in the budget, the borough’s workman’s compensation insurance rose by $1,400, bringing the total to the amount of $4,500 annually.
An additional $3,000 was budgeted for street lights to pay for the installation of six more light-emitting diode bulbs in town. Council installed 12 LED lights in 2019 at various locations around Hydetown, receiving half for free and the other half for $3,000 through a contract with Penelec that allowed for free installations. Borough council is planning on gradually replacing the street light bulbs in Hydetown with LEDs at a rate of six bulbs per year.
The final budgetary increase was an additional $400 to the borough’s electric bill to pay for more street lights which were installed in Hasbrouck Park over the course of last year.
Under the budget, $20,000 of money will go into the road fund to be used for projects.
The second reading was passed by all but one member of council present. Council member Janice Stiner abstained from the vote, as well as all other votes held during the meeting. Stiner began abstaining from all votes at the Oct. 7 meeting due to an undisclosed legal reason. Councilman Phil Myer was not present for the vote, as he arrived late to the meeting.
Council will hold a public discussion on the 2020 budget on Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m., at the Hydetown Fire Hall.
Council discussed a seemingly oversized bill relating to markers placed near culverts along Patterson Road.
According to Councilman Craig Farrar, the borough was charged $940 for around a dozen small markers used to indicate piping on the road, an amount he was incredulous about.
“You can buy those (markers) for $4 at tractor supply,” Farrar said.
The markers were purchased as part of a grant funded project performed through the Crawford County Conservation District. The borough received $140,000 from the district for renovations along the road, including daylighting and the installation of improved drainage.
The contracted company for the work was North Rock Construction Company, a business in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. Farrar said that Jennifer Kellogg, a technician with the district who has worked with Hydetown Borough Council on the grant project, is looking into the high cost of the markers.
Council also elected to have local contractor John Barnhart of Barnhart Trucking address a flooding issue along Patterson Road. A 75-foot section of ditches that run alongside the street, intended to hold any water that falls on the road, is filled with leaves. This has caused water to flood out of the ditches and onto the road.
Council is pursuing legal action against a Hydetown resident who, according to Council President Larry Roof, sent a bad check to the borough’s tax collector to pay for taxes.
The female resident, who was not identified by name, allegedly sent a check for an account which was closed. This triggered a fee when Hydetown Borough Tax Collector Kim Burns attempted to deposit the check to the tune of $59.67. Burns paid for the fee out of pocket. The woman was apparently unable to payback the fee, according to Hydetown Secretary-Treasurer Patricia Myer, due to not having enough money for it.
Roof initially brought up the discussion to make a motion to pay back Burns for her out of pocket expense, something which council decided to do. However, Councilman Sam Ridgway expressed annoyance with the ordeal and proposed taking legal action.
“That’s fraud,” Ridgway said. “That’s against the law. It’s not a bad check, I make a motion that we go after her.”
With the exception of Stiner and the still absent Phil Myer, all present members of council voted in favor of the motion.
Other meeting news
Roof announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to perform improvement work to a section of state Route 408 around Hydetown in the spring or summer of 2021. The department has gradually been working on the roadway, which stretches from Cambridge Springs to Hydetown. In 2018, work was done to a section that passes through Townville, Troy Township and Steuben Township. Work will include paving, improved handicap accessibility, road berm work and the possible installation of additional drainage, sidewalks and street-lighting.
Council approved local contractor Dave Christy to replace the soffit and fascia of the borough maintenance building to the tune of $750 plus fees for the replacement of any rotting wood. Soffits are fascias are sections of a buildings roof that hang over the main part of the structure. A soffit is on the underside of a roof, while the fascia is the part above a soffit.
A fall festival party for kids will be held at the Hydetown Fire Hall on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The party is intended to make up for the usual Halloween party, which was cancelled this year.
Council is looking into the possibility of installing a handicap-accessible bathroom stall at Hasbrouck Park. Roof said that architectural drawings for the project have been received, and council needs to look at the pre-existing bathrooms to determine where they would like the stall installed, as well as come up with a price before moving forward with a vote.
The swings and seesaw in Hasbrouck Park will be taken down in the next few days for the winter, following a decision by council.
The next voting meeting of Hydetown Borough Council will take place on Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., at the Hydetown Fire Hall.
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