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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Borough taxes increase seen; police hired

  • Bringing Hawley police salaries in line with the region and other mounting expenses have necessitated a planned tax increase for 2014.
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  • Bringing Hawley police salaries in line with the region and other mounting expenses have necessitated a planned tax increase for 2014.
    Hawley Councilman Joseph Faubel, who chairs the Finance Committee, said that the .375 mill increase will equate to $35 more a year for the average borough household.
    A balanced budget was reached at a workshop October 21st; at the Council meeting November 13, Council agreed to advertise the budget. After the public has a chance to review it, Council plans to bring it to a vote at the December 11th Council session.
    The proposed budget totals $403,250. General funds total $340,250. Other funds are allocated this way: PLIGIT, $30,000; Parks & Recreation, $8,500; Fire Department, $19,000; Ambulance, $5,500.
    PLIGIT (Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust) provides short-term investment needs for local governments.
    Total proposed tax millage for 2014 is 3.125 mills, an increase of .375. Borough tax money is divided up this way: General Fund, 2.000 mills; Street Lighting, 0.55; Parks & Recreation, 0.15; Fire Department, .325 and Ambulance, .100.
    For every $1,000 of assessed real estate value, one mill is equal to one dollar. A property in Hawley Borough assessed at $100,000 would be taxed $312.50.
    "I think this is medicine we need to take now," Faubel said, "but we can talk about it."
    Affecting the Borough's budget and decision to raise taxes is an increase in taxes across the board of 3% except for Borough Police, which will receive a 13% increase. The Borough also needs to replenish some cash funds and may need to finance part of the cost of a new truck. The Borough hopes to receive a grant for part of the truck's cost.
    Police Department salaries were reviewed by the Police Committee, and found that Hawley Police were being paid less than other municipal police departments in the region. The 13% increase, Faubel said, brings the salaries "closer to going rates."
    ••• Officers hired
    As was previously announced, Hawley Borough decided to add two additional officers to the part-time Police Department. The additional officers help to complete their schedule of shifts. On Wednesday night, Mayor Kevin Hawk administered the oath of office to two newly hired officers.
    They are Connor N. Hedrick from Lake Ariel, who is also an officer in Lehigh Township, and Shanequa L. Knecht from Waymart. Knecht is also an officer in Forest City.
    The additional officers brings the force to 10 police officers, said Chief Daniel Drake.
    ••• Council change
    Another matter addressed by Council was a resignation by Councilman John "Jack" Robertson. The Councilman has been appointed to serve in 2012 to fill an unexpired term, but ran unsuccessfully for his first full term in the General Elections last week.
    In his resignation letter, read aloud by Council President Donald Kyzer, Roberston cited "family, health and personal reasons." Robertson, who was liaison to the Hawley Area (Sewer) Authority and chaired the Streets & Roads committee, thanked those he worked with closely. He expressed gratitude to Council and congratulated fellow Council member Michele Rojas on winning the election.
    Page 2 of 2 - His resignation was accepted with regret. Rojas noted that Roberston served with "integrity and honesty." Robertson is registered as a Republican.
    Ann Monaghan was immediately inducted to fill the unexpired term of Robertson, which would have run out at the end of the current year. Monaghan, who is registered as both a Republican and a Democrat, also was elected in the General Election to a four-year term on Council.
    Other Council matters will be reported separately.

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