AVOCA — Council members approved the first reading of the proposed 2018 budget Thursday. The budget currently stands at $1,102,364 and calls for no tax increase with a 2.3 mill rate. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.
According to council president John Boone, this is the first time the borough has had a budget of over $1 million.
“We’re finishing with enough surplus in the budget to carry us through the first couple of months (of 2018) until these revenues start coming back in again,” he said.
The budget allows the council members to hire a third part-time street department worker and make payments on the current borough building, which opened earlier this year.
A second reading and approval of the proposed budget will occur at the council’s next meeting in December.
The council members also approved incentives for municipal volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services agencies, meaning active volunteers will receive 20 percent off their local property tax bills.
Councilman Gary Halagarda, who is also a volunteer fire fighter with the Avoca Hose Co., said volunteers will need to meet certain requirements before they are given the incentives.
“They can’t just join, become a member and not show up,” added Boone.
Halagarda said he’s hopeful this will convince more people to volunteer.
“I think it’s a great recruitment tool,” he said. “It’s not only a benefit for the active volunteers that we do have who own property in town, but it’s a recruiting tool to get more volunteers to come in.”
In other business, the council members…
• Approved a $2,500 payment to Ed Krasavage Construction of Wyoming to fix a sewer problem on Grove Street.
• Approved a pay request of $64,418 to Kobalt Construction of Pocono Summit in regards to the ADA Parks Project which made Plane Street Park and West Avoca Park more handicapped accessible.
• Approved a pay request of $4,300 to Ed Krasavage Construction to repair a manhole on the corner of Grove Street.
• Approved a $500 donation to the Greater Pittston Regional Compost Facility.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher