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Issue Home November 15, 2006 Site Home

Commissioners Will Make 50G’s
Forest City Taxes Increase
Sherwood Gets Thin Win in County

Courthouse Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Oakland Readies For Winter Season
Progress, Postponement In Montrose
B/R Tax Study: No Changes
New Milford Twp. Meeting Is Brief

Commissioners Will Make 50G’s

Susquehanna County Commissioners will be making $50,442 a year starting in 2009, according to action taken last week at a special evening meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Until then, the commissioners will have to settle for $47,547 next year and $48,973 in 2008.

The evening session was in keeping with a tradition and also to give county residents an opportunity to be heard on the salaries paid to the commissioners and other elective offices. It turned out to be a sparsely attended and quickly ended meeting.

The commissioners set the salaries for those county offices that will be filled by the 2007 elections. Terms of those county officials who will be elected next year will run from 2008 through 2011.

A motion by Commissioner Jeff Loomis to add increments of three percent for the years 2008 and 2009 to the salaries of the commissioners, treasurer, tax claim director, coroner, recorder of deeds, and register of wills passed unanimously.

The commissioners will be paid as outlined above and the other elected department heads will be paid as follows for the years 2008 and 2009: treasurer, $42,542 and $43,818 respectively; tax claim director, $4,539 and $4,675; auditors (per day), $112 and $116; coroner, $32,975 and $33,964; recorder of deeds, $42,542 and $43,818; register of wills, $4,539 and $4,675; Prothonotary, $42,542 and $43,818; clerk of courts, $4,539 and $4,675; sheriff, $42,542 and $43,818; jury commissioners, $4,507 and $7,732.

County Coroner Tony Conarton asked the commissioners to consider giving him a higher pay increase to bring him in line with other elected offices. He pointed out that he is the lowest paid elected official and that his salary is $10,000 less than the other elected officials. The commissioners rejected his plea.

A motion to set the salary increases for the years 2010 and 2011 at three percent passed by a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Mary Ann Warren voted no. And a motion to have elected department heads contribute 10 percent toward their health insurance starting in 2010 was unanimously approved.

Prior to the motions on the pay increases, Jim Jennings of Brooklyn Township asked the commissioners to consider freezing the salaries of all elective offices.

“It would make everyone in this county happy if you froze the salaries,” said Jennings. “It would be a big thing for all the people in the county.” His plea fell on deaf ears.

“We are getting less money than the unions (employees),” Loomis said.

“That’s not so,” Jennings said. “Everyone else is getting paid peanuts compared to the department heads.”

At their regular meeting on November 8, the commissioners approved a resolution releasing all rights under the Keystone Opportunity Zone Act Agreement, regarding property owned by Oakland Borough. The building in question at one time was a schoolhouse in Oakland and later became the Oakland Borough Building.

The commissioners explained that the building site will be taken over by the county Housing Authority to provide rental apartment units.

And, meeting as the Salary Board, the commissioners and Treasurer Cathy Benedict approved the following motions:

-to delete the fulltime union positions of homemaker (there are currently two) in the Children & Youth Department and create the fulltime union positions (three) of case aides at $9.16 an hour, 37.5 hours per week plus benefits.

-to create a 12th case worker position in the Children and Youth Department to be filled from the Civil Service list.

-to delete the union position of fulltime clerk/typist in the District Attorney’s office currently held by Lorraine Depew and create a second fulltime union position of secretary, 37.5 hours a week at $10.25 per hour effective January 1, 2007.

-to set the rates of pay for Jacob Henry, Holly Stoddard and Joseph Fowler, part time corrections officers at $11.57 per hour plus benefits as provided by union contract.

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Forest City Taxes Increase

The Forest City Borough Council introduced its 2007 budget last week that calls for a two mill increase in municipal real estate taxes. The new tax rate will be 15.8 mills, plus one mill that is earmarked for capital improvement projects.

Finance Chairman Paul J. Amadio said the tax increase was inevitable. He said the increase should generate an additional $44,000 in revenue which is slightly above the $42,000 increase in the new budget.

The 2007 budget totals $724,550 and Amadio pointed out that salaries and benefits for borough employees will eat up more than 40 percent of it. He said salaries for the borough’s two fulltime police officers amount to $76,000 and another $45,000 is appropriated to pay the part-time officers. There are also two fulltime street department employees, a fulltime secretary/treasurer, part-time help that does maintenance work at Kennedy Park and a part-timer that cleans the borough offices.

Amadio told those attending the meeting that if council did not increase taxes, the borough could run out of money in September or October of 2007, and be forced to borrow in order to maintain the municipal services.

The Finance Committee has also recommended that a person be hired on a part-time basis to enforce local ordinances. The committee has appropriated $10,000 in the new budget to finance the proposal.

“This borough has always been clean and neat,” Amadio said. “But in recent years it has been going downhill and it is because we are not enforcing our borough ordinances. We need to enforce these laws so that we can once again be proud of the appearance of the community.”

Councilman Robert Trusky, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, pointed out that the budget also contains money to pave some borough streets. He said council started a program of focusing attention on street maintenance and money is needed to continue the program.

The budget can be seen at the borough hall Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Final action on the budget is expected to take place at the December council meeting.

In another matter, council agreed to hold a special meeting on December 12 to allow a real estate developer to unveil his ideas for some improvements in the downtown business district and the possibility of luring a new industry into the borough.

James Spano of Hillsborough, NJ, said he is prepared to spend a lot of money in the borough and is buying homes in the town and, more recently, purchased the former site of the Red Cross Pharmacy. He expressed interest in acquiring the former Wayne Garment plant at Main and Center streets and said he would consider using part of it for a youth center.

Trusky agreed to meet with a representative of the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company to discuss improvements in the installation of the borough’s annual holiday decorations on Main Street. Trusky said a letter from PP&L indicated the borough was guilty of 32 violations that need correcting.

The street decorating is a project of the Forest City Merchants Association and has always been one of the area’s best appearing Main Streets during the holiday season. John Kameen told Council that the association is prepared to pay for whatever costs are incurred in order to comply with PP&L regulations.

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Sherwood Gets Thin Win in County

Don Sherwood barely managed to carry Susquehanna County last week, losing 23 of the county’s 43 voting districts to Congressman-elect Chris Carney. Unofficial numbers show Sherwood with 7,544 votes and Carney with 7,479.

Besides a stunning win over incumbent Sherwood, Carney may also go down in the record books as the first county Democrat elected to Congress. Carney resides in Dimock Township.

While Sherwood’s personal affairs were bandied about in political ads urging voters to support Carney, it is believed that he was done in by his close alliance with the Bush Administration. Nationwide, Republican candidates who supported the President’s policies were defeated. At last report, the Democrats had secured control of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, although recounts in some states could effect the Senate.

As usual, state Representative Sandra (Sandy) Major was the top vote getter in the county by a wide margin, while cruising to an easy win over Green Party candidate, Jay Sweeney. Republican Major received 8,915 votes in the 11th District compared with 1,886 for her opponent.

In the race for United States Senator, incumbent Republican Rick Santorum won the county over Scranton Democrat Bob Casey but lost his seat to Casey in what one daily newspaper described as a “Casey cakewalk.” Santorum defeated Casey 7743-7299 to take the county by 444 votes, which is better than a loss but not as good as he has done in the past in Susquehanna County.

Incumbent Democrat Governor, Ed Rendell took the county by a sizeable margin over his Republican challenger, Lynn Swann, former all-pro football star with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rendell received a fair amount of Republican votes in the county while cruising to an 8216-6835 win. Statewide, the governor scored a lopsided win over Swann.

Political buffs in the county told this reporter they cannot remember when, if ever, a Democrat candidate for governor carried Susquehanna County but Ed Rendell did.

In the race to succeed retiring Senator Charles Lemmond, the senator’s administrative aide, Republican Lisa Baker, defeated another Susquehanna County candidate, Democrat Robert G. McNamara, superintendent of the Blue Ridge School District. However, Baker’s win was more impressive in the 20th District than in the county where she received 3,303 votes to 3,103 for McNamara.

Lemmond, who leaves office at the end of the year, had served as the state senator representing the 20th District since 1985.

State Representative Tina Pickett defeated Democrat challenger, Diane V. Ward by a comfortable margin in the county and in the 10th District. Pickett received 2050 votes in the county compared to 692 for Ward.

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Courthouse Report
Compiled by P. Jay Amadio


David L. Slater (estate), Jean M. Slater to Yuri Sannikov, Rock Hill, NY, Dina Sannikov, in Borough of Lanesboro for $18,000.

Christopher Dalton to Rose Technical LLC, Olympia, WA, in Silver Lake Township for $10.

Edward W. Rupp to DJR Holdings LLC, Olympia, WA, in Rush Township for $10.

Neil R. Behler (estate) to Robert C. McConnell, Sr., Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

John V. Polednak to Birchtown Stables Inc., RR1, Forest City, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Mark J. Trezza, Mary Trezza to Donna Melia, Edison, NJ, in New Milford Township for $226,000.

Donald Burns to Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (A Utah Corporation Sole), Salt Lake City, UT, in Oakland Township for $18,110.

Daniel L. Walling, Sr., Lorraine L. Walling to Rose Technical LLC, Olympia, WA, in Ararat Township for $1

Timothy L. Barnett, Charlotte L. Barnett to Reid Carter, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for $70,000.

Cappucci Trust (by trustees), Richard Place, Charlotte Place to Thomas M. McGinnis, Levittown, Lisa A. McGinnis, in Auburn Township for $59,000.

Joseph Scott Miskovsky, Mary Jane Miskovsky to JTSpano LLC, Hillsborough, NJ, in Forest City for $72,000.

Esther Deininger to David Deininger, Taylor, Gloria Deininger, in Harford and New Milford townships for $200.

Dorothy Fowlkes to Dorothy Fowlkes, Jersey City, NJ, Edward P. Fowlkes, in Thompson Township for one dollar.

Michael L. Shuta, Doris Shuta to Alan R. Styer, Miramar, FL, Mary Ann Styer, in Franklin Township for one dollar.

Earl K. Carter, Squier Living Trust (by trustees) to Squier Living Trust, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

Charles R. Canfield, Jr., Charles R. Canfield, Sr. (by POA), Linda J. Canfield to Roger L. Singer, New Milford, Clara A. Singer, in New Milford Township for $80,000.

Dolores L. Walters (nbm) Dolores L. Mood, Robert F. Mood to Duane A. Benedict, Montrose, Janice Benedict, in Montrose for $127,000.

Lloyd C. Landis to Richard C. Landis, Binghamton, NY, Michelle R. Landis, in Jessup Township for $80,000.

Carol Zimowski Canfield to James R. Canfield, South Gibson, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

Richard C. Decker, Sr. to Jeanne F. Decker, RR1, Hop Bottom, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.

Walter Grundman, Carolyn Grundman to Shirley F. Motyka, New Milford, Mariusz Motyka, in New Milford Borough for $87,000.

Earl H. Thompson, Jr. (by sheriff) to Ameriquest Mortgage Securities Inc., Orange, CA, in Franklin Township for $1,071.

Norman D. Reynolds, Betty J. Reynolds to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, in Bridgewater Township for $129,000.

Robert W. Neely, Jr. to Robert W. Neely, Brackney, Lori Allen, in Choconut Township for one dollar.

John R. Burke, John J. Burke to Stephen F. Kugler, Wall, NJ, Natalie T. Kugler, in Jackson Township for $75,000.

Doris Freeman (estate) to Patrick G. Snowe, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for $148,000.

Richard S. Godowski, Jean S. Godowski to Richard S. Godowski, Bayonne, NJ, Jean S. Godowski, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Richard S. Godowski, Jean S. Godowski to Raymond G. Miller, Jr., Palm Coast, FL, Sharon A. Miller, in Lathrop and Lenox townships for one dollar.

Richard S. Godowski, Jean S. Godowski, Raymond G. Miller, Jr., Sharon A. Miller to Raymond G. Miller, Jr., Palm Coast, FL, Sharon A. Miller, in Lenox Township for one dollar.

Joseph A. Dick, Jr., Sheila M. Dick to Joseph A. Dick, Carbondale, in Clifford Township for one dollar.

Getaway Land Co. LLC to Getaway Land Co. LLC, Towanda, in Auburn Township for one dollar.

Walter S. McCracken Trust UTD (by trustee) to Walter S. McCracken, Diane Ditchey, Scott L. Ditchey, in Springville Township for one dollar.

George A. Napolitano, Rebecca Napolitano to Maria D. Cina, in Susquehanna for $43,500.

Betty L. Barrett (fka) Betty L. VanOrden to Ross Patterson, Elissa Patterson, Pamela Goldberg, in Thompson Borough for $140,000.

Kevin T. Coughlin, Warren J. Coughlin to JTSpano LLC, Hillsborough, NJ, in Forest City for $82,400.

James W. Zick, Carol M. Zick (aka) Carol Zick to P. Scott Baldwin, Deborah A. Baldwin, in Harford and Lenox townships for $115,000.

Andrew Shamro, Theresa Shamro to Jennie Ann Swartz, Gary Swartz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.

Jennie A. Swartz, Gary Swartz to Jennie Ann Swartz, Gary Swartz, in Herrick Township for one dollar.

Andrew Shamro, Martin Shamro to Andrew Shamro, Martin Shamro, in Herrick Township for one dollar.

Harry Bomersheim, Stella M. Bomersheim to Brian J. Bomersheim, in Gibson Township for $193,000


Jeffrey Michael Bolcavage, Harford and Christine Marie DeFazio, Lenoxville.

Michael G. Schwartzbeck and Tammy S. Wood, both of Conklin, NY.

Todd W. Wilkerson and Stella A. Carlo, both of Forest City.


Susan L. Taylor, Montrose vs. Guy M. Jones, Little Meadows. Married, October 13, 2001.

Darlene M. Lupole, Friendsville vs. Gary L. Lupole, Susquehanna. Married, September 29, 1985.

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Gibson Barracks Report


On November 11, near the Susquehanna Bridge on SR 171, an unusual accident occurred. Veronica Groover of Susquehanna was driving around a left curve when she reports being confronted by a white pick-up truck coming at her in her lane. She swerved around the alleged truck but lost control of her vehicle doing so. She traveled off the right side of the road and struck a parked and unattended vehicle. She then traveled across SR 171 coming to rest on the north sidewalk. Anyone with information about the incident or the white truck is asked to contact PSP Gibson.


On November 7, on SR 11 at the Great Bend Exxon parking lot in Hallstead, Denis Gow of Great Bend was traveling northbound in a 1988 Ford truck. He stopped in the lane to allow a large truck to enter the roadway, and upon stepping on the gas to continue his truck burst into flames. The Great Bend Fire Department assisted the police on the scene. Gow emerged uninjured.


On November 4, Jayesh Topwala of Ontario was driving a Mazda Protégé when he fell asleep at the wheel. He failed to negotiate a right curve, traveling off the road and striking a guide-rail. He was cited for careless driving.


Charlene Kemp of Friendsville PA had her residence in Forest Lake Township broken into on October 27. She was not home, and apparently no property was taken.


David Dorman of Montrose PA reported on October 30 that someone had damaged his mailbox by smashing it with a blunt object.


Between October 30 and November 1, Eric Kilkirt of Great Bend, PA violated the Scattering Rubbish statute. After moving items from the property of Burman and Crawford Self-Storage, the accused caused a dresser and several other items to be thrown over an embankment behind the business. Charges of Scattering Rubbish were filed against the defendant at the office of District Justice Peter Janicelli in New Milford.


At approximately 11:30 am on November 2, Jennifer Bonavita of Meshoppen was traveling on SR 706 EB (Grow Ave.) in Montrose when she left the roadway and struck a parked vehicle. The parked vehicle, in turn, continued into a yard and damaged a residence. Bonavita was wearing her seatbelt and was not injured. Upon further investigation, however, it was revealed that she was wanted by several law enforcement agencies for various charges. She was taken into custody without incident. She faces the charge of Driving on Roadways Lined for Traffic because of the crash.


Sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. on October 27, an assailant described as 20 to 30 years old and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt entered the residence of Rolland Loomis of Montrose. The suspect struck Loomis about the head several times with a hammer then ordered him to the floor. Loomis was then bound, after which the perpetrator proceeded to steal money from his wallet, and other locations in the residence. The suspect fled the scene with more than two thousand dollars. The victim was treated for injuries at Endless Mountains Health Systems in Montrose.


Between the hours of 1:00 and 7:00 a.m. on October 31, one or more people entered numerous unlocked vehicles along old Rte. 11 between New Milford and Great Bend.


Someone struck Gary Sienko’s 2003 Acura RSX while it was unoccupied and parked at Maloney’s Pub in Hallstead. The incident occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. on November 1/2.

If you have information regarding any of these matters please contact the Gibson Police Barracks at (570) 465-3154.

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Oakland Readies For Winter Season

With winter coming, Oakland Boro council has had to do some improvising to prepare for it, as the boro currently does not have an office or a usable garage. The streets committee reported that a carport has been purchased and placed at the site of the boro building parking lot, and salt has been purchased and is being stored there. The boro’s truck has been repaired, cost approximately $1,300. The plow was being checked, as it may need a new hydraulic cylinder.

Where and how the salt is being stored has resulted in reports that some boro kids have been using the site as a play area. Out of concern for their safety as well as damage to the carport and loss of salt, several options were discussed, such as posting signs, putting up some type of gate, or closing the carport off with a canvas curtain. In the end, it was decided that council members and the boro police will keep an eye out, and warn any kids that they may see there not to play in the salt.

Council president Ron Beavan gave a rundown of current codes violations cases. One case was taken to court, with the decision in the boro’s favor; the violator did not show up, and the judge decreed that the violations must be taken care of within thirty days, after which the court will levy fines that will include the boro’s legal fees, CEO’s fees and additional fines.

Mayor Dudley reported that Halloween had gone well, with no damages reported. Otherwise, police patrols have consisted of routine incidents, such as dog complaints and motorists ignoring stop signs. At times when the boro police are not on duty, Mrs. Dudley reported, Lanesboro’s police have been making drive-throughs whenever possible. Some minor problems with the police car have been attended to. And, openings for part-time police officers have been advertised, but as of the date of the meeting there had been no responses.

Doug Arthur reported that he had been approached by Susquehanna’s mayor about working out a cooperative agreement for police coverage, but after discussion it was agreed that, although this was an option to keep in mind if the need arises, it was not what Oakland needs at the moment.

Paperwork for the grant that will fund improvements to the park has been held up due to a bureaucratic delay.

Council is still working on an equitable solution to water problems that had been discussed at last month’s meeting. On contactor had looked into it, and council was awaiting several more professional opinions, after which a determination will be made as to the best remedy.

One bid was received for a used tractor with a loader and backhoe, in the amount of $16,000. After discussion, a motion carried to reject it as information indicated that a new one could be purchased for slightly more, and would include a warrantee. A motion carried to advertise for bids for a new one, and a list of specifications was drawn up.

Paperwork from the county 911 office regarding the readdressing program was reviewed. East St., which is an extension of Wilson Ave. will be renamed Wilson Ave. Irving St. and Norwood Place, which are a continuation of the same street, will be renamed Park Road. There was one item that was apparently overlooked; Franklin Street was listed as Franklin Ave.; 911 will be notified of the error.

Council is still exploring options for the site of the boro’s new offices. One parcel of land that had been discussed is adjacent to a small lot owned by the boro; council has received word that there may be an individual interested in purchasing the boro’s lot, presumably to make one, bigger parcel out of the two lots.

River Bounty has signed a contract with a concern to operate the hydro-electric plant at the Susquehanna River. Council is waiting to see what the plans are for the building at the dam site; one portion of the building will be utilized for the plant operation, but another portion may not be used. If not, council will make a decision as to what its use will be; possibly it could be used by the boro as a garage for the truck and other equipment.

Motions carried to approve two resolutions. The first was to authorize a grant application, administered by the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority, for housing rehabilitation. A total of $362,000 would be used to help 18 low-income homeowners obtain grants for improvements to owner-occupied homes. The second was at the request of the Bradford County Progress Authority, under contract with the county to pursue economic development opportunities. It designates the Rte. 171 corridor in the boro as a New Enterprise Zone, which provides businesses with resources to pursue economic development and opportunities for job growth. Although there are only a few businesses along the designated area, it was agreed that any opportunity to provide resources for growth should not be ignored.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, December 14, 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Community Center.

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Progress, Postponement In Montrose

The November 6 meeting of the Montrose Borough Council was one of progress and postponement. Many old issues were revisited; some were tied up or brought further toward completion. Others were tabled for more discussion or put on hold pending contract and ordinance alteration.

After what amounted to a rather short public hearing, the borough enacted a 1% earned income tax. The hearing opened at 8:19 and closed at 8:21, due to lack of protest or discussion within it. In fact, there was only one member of the public there who was not affiliated with the Borough, a tax collection service, or the press. The motion was not passed unanimously but had enough votes to carry it through (5-2).

The council declined, however, to sign the contract with Berkheimer on that evening. Berkheimer, the tax collection agency the Borough is considering hiring, had a representative at the meeting to address concerns and questions. He explained the difference between Act 1 and Act 511, the two acts regulating various taxes being considered by local communities and schools. This new tax is under Act 511; Act 1 only applies to school districts. The responsibility of a person working outside the taxing area was discussed at length. If a person’s employer is outside of the taxing district, the employer is not required to withhold the tax. If it refuses to do so, the individual resident is required to file it him or herself. If appointed as the borough’s tax collection agency, Berkheimer would contact residents and explain the tax and its requirements. The borough solicitor was not satisfied with some of the language in the contract with Berkheimer, so it was postponed until she and the agency’s law department could discuss things further. A contract still may or may not be entered into.

Another 5-2 vote made possible the advertisement of ordinances and information supplied by COG (the Council of Governments Sewage and Codes Enforcement Committees). This includes an ordinance stipulating that sewage planning and other requirements be addressed prior to issuance of a building permit, and one allowing the municipality to require a permit for non-UCC structures. The advertisement of these is something strongly recommended by COG.

In an even shorter public hearing than the previous one, the Nuisance and Noise Ordinance was approved as well. This ordinance had been advertised and discussed extensively at previous meetings.

Street names were also under discussion, due to a requirement by the County Mapping and Addressing project that a street map of the area be checked for mistakes. Various errors were corrected, and two street names altered. One road was named Taylor Lane, in honor of the Taylors who lived close to it and served the Borough well. The other change had to do with part of the Griffiths Street area being known as Griffiths Hill.

Finally, two much discussed ordinances were once again postponed, in an effort to make them exactly what the Borough desires and to rectify foreseeable problems. One was the ordinance relating to the general curfew for minors, tabled at least in part to allow further discussion as to what to do with kids violating the curfew. The other was the renters’ ordinance, tabled after continued discussion regarding its exact purpose and other issues. These included clarification regarding the inclusion or exclusion of business units in the ordinance (especially those attached to residences) and the job, necessity, and appointment of a code enforcement officer. These topics will be under discussion again next month.

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B/R Tax Study: No Changes

The Tax Study Commission for the Blue Ridge School District closed up shop early at its meeting on November 6, recommending that district voters make no changes in the school tax structure.

The meeting included a "public hearing," required under the same Act 1 of 2006 that mandated the Study Commission. The hearing portion of the meeting attracted only about 15 citizens and only two or three clarifying questions. Commission chair (and School Board President) Alan Hall repeated a presentation he gave to commission members two weeks ago that outlined district demographics and some of the details about what an Earned Income Tax (EIT) or a Personal Income Tax (PIT) would mean to local taxpayers.

Next May, voters will be given an opportunity to decide whether they want to offset part of the property tax with an EIT of between 1% and 1.6%. They can also choose to authorize district to shift later to a PIT of between 1% and 1.4%. However, because of the characteristics of the Blue Ridge district (declining enrollments, increase in senior citizen population, proximity to New York State where many work, and generally low incomes and property values), Commission members voted unanimously to recommend no change in the tax structure for the district.

Terry Rafferty, enlisted to represent retired senior citizens on the Commission, said, "I'll make out on it, but [it would be] another tax that working people are going to have to pay." Neither the EIT nor the PIT would tax pensions or Social Security income. The greatest benefit from a change would go to lower-income retired senior citizens. Middle-income renters would see the greatest increase in their taxes. Others would have to consult their own circumstances and the provisions in the law to determine the impact.

Barbara Stone said, "Every person I talked to wanted it [the school tax structure] to stay the way it is."

Act 1 of 2006 was an attempt to shift some of the burden of local school support from property taxes to an income-based tax. For Blue Ridge, the maximum real estate tax reduction would be between about $650 and $700 per year. It would affect only those families who live on the property they own. In exchange, a tax would be imposed on wage earners (EIT), or on everybody who has income (PIT) – including many of those same property owners, of course.

The Tax Study Commission was scheduled to have another meeting, but members decided on their recommendation and voted to disband a little early.

Their recommendation to the School Board is not binding. For that matter, whatever the School Board decides about it isn't binding either. The Board will have to determine how the ballot questions will read next Spring, however. And then the Commission's and the Board's recommendations will have to find their way into the community so that voters can make informed choices.

For those who attended, the Commission meetings were educational. Ms. Stone thanked Mr. Hall and District Business Manager Loren Small for providing the data in clear and understandable form. "I personally learned a lot," she said. In turn, Mr. Hall thanked the members for their attendance and participation.

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New Milford Twp. Meeting Is Brief

To be brief, the New Milford Township meeting on November 8 was... brief. Beginning at approximately 7:30 and ending around 7:50, there was still sufficient time for discussion. Key issues included camping, surveying, and budget.

Near the meeting’s start a man brought forth a concern that there had been activity at the East Lake Campground recently. The gate had been left open and someone resided there for a night. Advertisement of a camp opening date of April 1 has also been seen. This is part of an issue which has been going on for some time. A court order had been given to close the camp due to a sewage issue, though it remained open this past summer. The man mentioned the concern of residents in that area regarding water quality, as many draw their water from wells. The supervisors responded that the latest edict from the judge had been that they try to settle this outside of court, and that a meeting was scheduled in the coming week with the lawyers to work toward resolving it. What is and isn’t allowed in the meantime, and how it will come out in the end, is otherwise pretty much up to the lawyers and the judge. If a resolution cannot be reached then it might go back to court, but the judge had told them to try and find a different solution first.

It was also reported that a portion of route 688 was scheduled to be surveyed on Thursday or Friday. The section of road is one which dead-ends at a quarry, and in recent past wasn’t much used. It came under dispute amongst local landowners, and a judge decreed that it had belonged to the township and they should take it back.

In addition, it was announced that the township budget has been completed and approved for advertisement, with hopes of adoption at the next meeting. The budget totals $419,000. A question as to whether or not permits could be separated out in the budget amount led to discussion of land-use permits. This is the first year the township started using land-use permits in the budget. The permits are $25 apiece, and are given only after a person can present a paper proving that the sewage situation was assessed for the property. Land-use permits, in turn, are required prior to acquiring a building permit.

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