Montrose Considering Tax
Mt. View Seeks Board Member
Great Bend Approves Budget
Montrose Considering Tax
Action on an ordinance calling for a one-percent earned income tax (EIT) in the Borough of Montrose will take place on Monday, December 19. On Monday night, December 5, the Borough Council listened to some public comments on the issue and will probably incorporate what was said in its final discussions which are expected to precede a vote on the ordinance.
The governing body is proposing a one percent tax on the earnings of all residents and non-residents who work in the borough. Money collected from non-residents will be forwarded to the communities where the non-residents live. If it is approved, it could pump some $90,000 a year into the borough’s coffers and eliminate the need for increasing real estate taxes. It might allow the borough to abolish its per capita and occupational privilege taxes.
From reliable sources The Transcript learned that without the EIT, the borough may have to raise real estate taxes by three mills in 2006 which would put the rate at 17 mills. Moreover, there is also the possibility of another tax increase in 2007.
One borough official who preferred to remain anonymous said the council spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of an EIT. The person also said council was about to scrap the ordinance for 2006 because it felt the borough wasn't ready for it. However, during budget discussions, members of council decided that holding the line on real estate taxes for a few years diluted the services borough residents deserved.
“We were able to scrimp and save,” The Transcript was told, “but we were also hurting the taxpayers. We missed a lot of things we should have been doing.”
The borough building is also in need of repairs and the borough equipment is getting outdated. One cause for a shortage of money in the borough treasury is the fact that the borough has $5 million of non-taxable properties within its boundaries. The county and state buildings are not taxed and neither are the churches, the hospital, or any other non-profit organizations.
One person who appears to be unusually concerned about the proposed tax is county Commissioner Jeff Loomis. He made copies of the ordinance notice and hand carried them to merchants and business places in the borough.
“They only posted the notices in three places, the law library, Montrose Independent and the borough building,” Mr. Loomis said. “My job as a county commissioner is to represent all the people in the county. I have no opinion one way or the other on whether they pass it or not but I want the people to know about it.”
Mr. Loomis said he made copies of the notice and walked door-to-door in the business district handing them out.
“It’s part of my job as a public official,” he said. “I would do the same for any community.”
While the EIT may be new to Montrose, it is not new in Susquehanna County. Places like Forest City, Clifford Township, Harford Township, Springville and Dimock have had the tax in effect for some time. Without EITs, Forest City, Harford and Springville would have to raise taxes by four or five mills to make up for the $100,000-plus that they receive from wage taxes. Altogether, 15 municipalities in the county have earned income tax. There have also been reports that places like Silver Lake and Franklin townships are considering EITs as are Oakland and Thompson boroughs.
Here’s a look at the annual incomes of municipalities in Susquehanna County that have had EITs in place: Auburn Township, $75,000; Brooklyn Township, $45,000; Clifford Township, $91,000; Dimock Township, $90,000; Forest City Borough, $110,000; Gibson Township, $68,000; Harford Township, $100,000; Herrick Township, $40,000; Hop Bottom, $30,000; Lathrop Township, $45,000; Lenox Township, $90,000; Middletown Township, $12,000; Rush Township, $58,000; Springville, $100,000; Union Dale Borough, $42,000. As one municipal official put it, “Imagine where our real estate tax rate would be if we did not have this money coming in every year.”
Some municipalities let their elected tax collectors collect the EIT but the law does allow for the appointment of an earned income tax officer. Like those that are elected, earned income tax officers are bonded. There are also professional collection agencies such as Berkeimer Tax Administrators.
There are penalties and interest tacked on to delinquent wage tax earners. The Montrose ordinance provides for a fine of not more than $500 for delinquents and it could also lead to a 30-day jail term.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written prior to the December 5, 2005 meeting of the Montrose Borough Council. It is intended to give our readers some insight on the proposed earned income tax presently being considered by the Borough Council.
Back to Top
Mt. View Seeks Board Member
Mountain View School Board convened for the second regular monthly meeting on Monday, the 28th. Two members were absent. As a result of recent elections, two members will give up their posts.
Superintendent Arthur Chambers presented a thank-you gift to both John Beeman and Susan Christensen for being loyal and dedicated in their service. Christensen served her community for two years. She was unfortunately absent. Beeman has served eight years. Regarding Beeman, Chambers stated, “Our work together has been great all the years through.” Beeman was thanked for sharing his talent and values with our youth and public school district.
The next public meeting will be held Tuesday, December 13 for the purpose of interviewing and selecting a candidate from the Gibson area to sit on the board.
Grade six class facilitators and advisors are being sought, with applications due December 8. Halupke objects to these jobs and voted against them.
The dress code policy was voted upon, but the motion was not carried. The graduation policy, however was approved along with the handbook. Second readings of both the Strategic Plan and Gifted Education policies were presented. More conferences and field trips were approved as well. Griffiths “was shocked” by the intended expenditures for some new salaries. An improved web page is anticipated and budgeted.
An Activities Police Policy and job description were given a first reading. A brief discussion occurred regarding the required uniform. The school will not purchase shirts but they will purchase badges to make identifying them easy to the general public.
Back to Top
Great Bend Approves Budget
Money, and how to get more of it, was on the minds of members of the Great Bend Borough Council on December 1, as they formally adopted a budget for the coming year 2006, the first budget for this small town to break $100,000. And they had to increase tax rates marginally to do it.
Eagle Scout candidate Josh Neary chose a particularly interesting session to observe to fulfill some merit badge requirements. Council President Bea Alesky started right off by announcing that she would donate her 2005 council salary of nearly $250 back to the town, "because the borough is in financial difficulty." And, in a letter announcing her resignation from Council, Pat Thatcher also contributed whatever she was due for her brief service back to the town coffers. Council later accepted Jerry MacConnell's nomination of Ron Cranage to fill Ms. Thatcher's seat.
Councilman Mike Wasko then proposed boosting fees for use of the Borough Building and parks facilities. "We're very fortunate that we have three parks in this town," said Mr. MacConnell. Members reluctantly went along with the modest increase during a debate that tried to determine the function of the town's financial resources. The deposit for use of the borough building or the concession stand in Recreation Park will remain at $50. After January 1, 2006, however, the amount refunded when keys are returned will drop from $25 to $15.
When the budget itself came up for final approval at the tail end of the meeting, it came as an anti-climax. A month ago Council agreed to a preliminary budget that required no tax rate increase; at the time, however, Mr. MacConnell had nearly convinced his colleagues that it was about time to consider a tax increase – after some 14 years without one. Council held a special session on November 14 to consider it further.
What they finally adopted for 2006 will give them $7,000 more to spend, at the cost of a 1 mill increase in property tax rates. Council also formally broke out the tax contribution for the fire company; 0.75 mill will be designated for support of the Great Bend Hose Company. Total millage will therefore rise from 6.63 to 7.63, of which 6.88 will go to the town budget.
The additional revenue was balanced on the expense side by simply dumping an additional $7,000 into "Miscellaneous Expenses." There has been discussion of trying to purchase some sort of additional police protection, perhaps using some of this money. Talks with Susquehanna Borough about leasing time from their police force have so far gone nowhere. A more recent proposal by the Council of Governments (COG) to do a feasibility study of regional policing has gotten mixed reviews from local municipalities. Great Bend Borough willingly adopted a resolution supporting the study – as long as it doesn't cost anything.
Council is eager to put all of that behind them and move along into the holiday spirit. Everyone was thankful to the fire company for putting up the lights along Main Street. Borough employee Alan Grannis is laying the groundwork for a holiday party in Memorial Park scheduled for Saturday, December 17, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The event will feature music, cookies, fellowship, and a great bonfire. All are welcome.
The Great Bend Borough Council will gather briefly on Tuesday, December 3, beginning at 6:00 p.m., for the annual reorganization. The regular December business meeting will take place as usual on the first Thursday of the month, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Back to Top
An unknown person(s) stole a 10 horsepower Coleman Powermate generator from a quarry in Jackson Township owned by Mark Sherman, Susquehanna, sometime between November 23 and 28.
At around 7 on the evening of November 27, Roger Stone, Thompson, and a few of his friends were leaving Chet’s Bar in Herrick Township when Thomas Walker, who supposedly lives in Connecticut (no town name given), pushed Stone into a wall, and resulted in a cut above his eye. Walker fled the scene in an unknown direction.*
An unknown person stole gasoline from and slashed three tires on a vehicle belonging to William Graham, 45, Springville Township, while it was parked there on Main Street. This incident occurred sometime between November 16 and 17.*
Sometime between November 3 and 17, an unknown person stole a Stihl Chainsaw Model MS025, serial number 255048836, and a toolbox with various hand tools from a shed belonging to Jeffrey McCain, 34, in Liberty Township.*
This accident happened shortly after five on the afternoon of November 29. A 1997 Dodge Intrepid driven by Rebecca Jesse, 28, New Milford, was stopped at the intersection of State Route 11 and Susquehanna Street in Hallstead, waiting to make a left turn. A 2001 Ford Focus driven by Kari Barile, 24, Great Bend, failed to stop and rear-ended the Intrepid. Both drivers as well as two juvenile passengers in the Intrepid were wearing seatbelts; the drivers were not injured, the passengers were, although the extent of injuries was not reported. The Ford was severely damaged and towed by Marv’s Towing, Great Bend. Barile will be cited for careless driving.
AT an unknown time on November 25, Brian Tadlock, 38, Susquehanna, lost control of the 1997 Geo Metro he was driving, while negotiating a left curve on Old Route 11 north in Great Bend Township. His car went off the road, hit several rocks and rolled over onto its roof before coming to rest. Tadlock then left the scene and never contacted the state police to report the accident; endeavors to reach him were met with negative results. As a result of this accident, he was cited for driving a vehicle at unsafe speed, careless driving, driving a vehicle without a valid license and failure to notify the police of an accident.
This accident happened at 8:30 on the morning of November 28 as a 2002 Chrysler Sebring driven by Ryan Taylor, 19, Montrose, was traveling south on State Route 29, behind a 1988 Chevy S-10 pickup driven by David Williams, 45, Kingsley. A blue Chevy Silverado (extra cab) then passed Taylor’s car and as that driver steered this truck in front of it, he had to make a sudden steering movement back to the left because the pickup was now slowing down to make a right turn onto a quarry driveway. Nevertheless, the Silverado was able to get around the pickup, and continued to travel south on State Route 29. On the other hand, Taylor – because the Silverado obscured his view of the slowed-down pickup – was not able to react in time to avoid a collision, and his Sebring hit the rear of the pickup, continuing on and coming to rest on the west berm of the road, facing south. As a result of the impact, the pickup spun in a clockwise motion and came to rest on the west berm, also facing north, with its right rear tire atop the right rear trunk area of the Sebring. Taylor and his passenger, as well as Williams, were wearing seatbelts, were injured and transported to the Endless Mountain Health Systems in Montrose by Montrose Minutemen Ambulance; assistance at the scene was provided by members of the Springville Fire Department. Anyone who can identify the blue Silverado is asked to contact the state police.*
Between November 4 and 5, someone fired bullets into a shed and residence in Lenox Township owned by Margaret Reese, Clarks Summit.*
Shawn Krause, 29, New Milford, was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured when he lost control of his 1988 Pontiac Grant Prix on a snow-covered State Road 848 in New Milford Township at 3 in the morning of November 16. His car went into the south berm, hit a guide rail with its left front, which caused it to begin to travel in a sideways motion. The car then struck a tree with its right rear side, causing it to spin in a clockwise motion. It then traveled backwards before coming to rest in a creek bed, facing northwest. Krause was cited for driving a vehicle at an unsafe speed.
RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY
At 3:30 on the afternoon of November 18, a 1999 black Chevy Cavalier that was stolen out of Susquehanna borough on November 12 was recovered on a logging road in Oakland Township, approximately four miles outside the borough. Witnesses from the original investigation conducted by Susquehanna Borough identified Jeffrey Craig, 38, Susquehanna, as the prime suspect.
John A. Price, 39, was driving his 1995 Dodge Dakota pickup south on State Route 11 in Hallstead when he suddenly noticed flames coming from the floorboard area. He pulled over, parked and left the vehicle which then became totally engulfed in flame. Members of the Hallstead Fire Department responded to the scene. The origin of the fire is unknown in this incident that happened at about 5:30 on the afternoon of November 25.
Someone broke into four vending machines owned by Frank William Wolfe, Wilkes Barre, that are in the southbound rest area off of Interstate 81 in Lenox Township, stealing an undetermined amount of cash. This happened sometime between November 14 and 19.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF BY FIRE
At about 11:30 on the night of November 21, someone set fire to approximately 50 bails of hay about one-half mile south of State Road 3004 in Auburn Township. Value of the hay, owned by John Joseph Bonavita, 63, and Barbara Newhart, 45, Meshoppen, was placed at $1,500.*
Between the morning of November 17 and the following late afternoon, someone dumped bags of trash along State Road 2053 in Bridgewater Township.*
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Melody Williams, 50, Hallstead, was driving north on State Route 29 about a half mile from the state line when her 1997 Oldsmobile Bravada left the road off the east berm, struck a guide rail and concrete barrier, crossed into the southbound lane, and came to rest facing north. She was wearing a seatbelt and received minor injuries and the Olds received major front damage in this accident that happened shortly after noon on November 8.
Donald Hines, New Milford, was driving a 2002 Honda Civic southbound on Interstate 81 on the afternoon of November 24 when he lost control of the car because of the slippery road condition. The Civic received moderate damage but Hines, who was wearing a seatbelt, was not injured.
THEFT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
Shortly before 6 on the afternoon of November 19, Jeffrey Alan Craig, Susquehanna, went to the residence of William S. McKean, Susquehanna, while McKean was not home. He took McKean’s gray, 1992 Olds 88 Royal. McKean called the state police for help on locating his car. Timothy Craig returned back to McKean’s residence and stated his brother Jeffrey took the vehicle and that he would return it.
THEFT FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE
Sometime between the evening of November 18 and the following morning, an unknown person(s) entered a vehicle belonging to Andrea M. Venesky, Oakland Township, while it was parked in her driveway and stole CDs and a cell phone.*
IDENTITY THEFT, ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD
An unknown person(s) gained access to the personal information of Kim Marie Friar, 40, Brooklyn Township – presumably from her Internet usage. The person then used her information to make purchases online from September 1 to October 28.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at (570) 465-3154.
Back to Top
Eleanor Davis (estate), Russell Davis, Roberta Jean Barr to Russell Davis and Gayle Anita Davis, RR1, Union Dale, for one dollar.
Ryan Cosklo to Joseph J. and Cherie J. Demanicor, 32 Elkview Drive, Clifford Township, for $159,000.
Joseph A. Kuczyniski (estate) to Randy R. Robbins, RR1, Susquehanna, Diann N. Robbins, Dwayne B. Conklin, Donna E. Conklin, Paul A. Oleyar, Carol A. Oleyar, in Jackson Township for $85,000.
Phillip Wood, Sara J. Mosher (nbm) Sara J. Wood to Sara J. Wood, RR1, Laceyville, and Phillip Wood, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
David and Cindy Purdy to Andrew Panzo and Patricia Panzo, Media, in Herrick Township for $67,900.
Mark P. Kurosky to Roy C. Somers and Doris J. Somers, Lakeland, FL, in Hallstead Borough for $90,000.
Duane D. and Rita R. Slocum to Duane D. And Rita R. Slocum, RR2, Thompson, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Duane D. and Rita R. Slocum to Gumersindo Sanchez and Yvonne Sanchez, Union City, NJ, for $249,000.
Ingomar Limited Partnership to Michael R. Manning, Mays Landing, NJ, in Little Meadows Borough for $25,000.
Richard Butmankiewicz (trust by trustee) to Fiondi Incorporation, Binghamton, NY, in Jessup Township for $300,000.
David G. Palmer, Bessie Palmer to Peter Muir Jr., West Chester, PA, in Gibson Township for $32,000.
Marry M. Shaw, Annette G. Shaw to Annette G. Shaw, Vestal, NY, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Bruce P. Bender, Michele A. Williams, Colleen Friel to Bruce P. Bender, Center Valley, and Virginia Bender, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Kazue H. Miciotto to James R. Barry, Carbondale, in Forest City for $19,000.
Timothy N. Rausch, Carol Lynn E. Moran to Timothy N. Rausch, Philadelphia, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Irene M. Huston (by sheriff), William Huston (by sheriff) to Fremont Investment and Loan, Ontario, CA, in Montrose for $2,530.
Shirley D. Sheridan, Raymond G. Sheridan Jr. to Shirley D. Sheridan, RR2, Montrose, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Joseph M. Laneski (by sheriff), Mary Ann Laneski (by sheriff) to LaSalle Bank, Irving, TX, (fka) LaSalle National Bank, in Montrose for $1,325.
Stuart Kaufman, Marjorie E. Kaufman to Owens & Mayerzak Rental Property, Montrose, for $85,000.
Debra L. Gruber, Bernard M. Gruber to Richard Chandler, Diane L. Chandler, 30 Viaduct St., Lanesboro, in Borough of Lanesboro for $61,500.
Danita M. Davis (nbm) Danita M. Eggelton, William Eggelton, to Danita M. Eggelton and William Eggelton, 1 Porter Dr., Clifford Township, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Richard Trusky Jr., Patricia Trusky, William Trusky, Rosemary Trusky, Regina Kubus, George Kubus, Dorothy Svecz to Christine E. Evans, 500 Delaware St., Forest City, in Forest City for $43,000.
Kenneth H. Schmidt, Lisa J. Schmidt to Arvin F. Hibbard, Roselyn P. Hibbard, RR6, Montrose, in Harford Township for $77,500.
Kevin L. Rought, Tanya S. Rought to Kevin L. Rought, PO Box 84, Kingsley, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Norma Ashcraft to Nicholas St. Pierre, Lawrence, MA, Mathew St. Pierre, Ghislaian St. Pierre, in Apolacon Township and Little Meadows Borough for $12,750.
Clarence A. Smith, Waltraut Smith to Richard M. Soden, Sharon A. Soden, RR1, Starrucca, in Thompson Township for $225,000.
Richard Mariana, Kathryn E. Mariani to Glenn Smith, PO Box 174, Harford, in Springville Township for $78,000.
The Tri-Borough Municipal Authority has obtained judgments in the Susquehanna County Court against the following individuals:
Thomas W. and Mary Ann Robinson, 706 West Main, Susquehanna, $459.
Michael Stark, Susquehanna, Chester J. and Ruth Morris, Binghamton, NY, $562.
The US Treasury Department has filed a federal tax lien against Steven L. Jones of New Milford.
Back to Top
© 2005 Susquehanna County Transcript. All