BY STACI WILSON
New Milford Borough Council slashed areas in its purposed 2012 operating budget in an effort to keep costs down but taxpayers will likely see a two mil increase in next year’s bills.
Council members voted unanimously at the Nov. 3 meeting to advertise the proposed budget. The final budget will be voted on in December.
One mil inNew Milfordbrings in about $10,000 in tax revenue.
Currently, the borough is embroiled in two lawsuits which will require another $10-$15,000 to fight in the coming year.
One suit, explained Council President Teri Gulick, could hinder the development of the proposed 24-unit, senior housing project onChurch St.
Taxes now stand at 6.3 mils, with the two mil increase, the average household will realize about a $50-60 increase in the borough tax bill in 2012.
“Times are tough. We hate to increase taxes at all,” Gulick said, “but we have to have the senior project.”
In addition to taking care of the coming legal fees, the two mil increase will also leave the borough with about $7,717 in capital reserve to handle other expenses.
Council also decided to take another look at the Earned Income Tax. A committee will begin investigating that revenue option for the borough after Jan. 1.
Lifelong New Milfordresident Lawrence White was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council left with the October resignation of Council President Jim Carr.
White jumped right into the job, volunteering to join Councilman Ken Carey and borough resident Rick Ainey on the EIT committee.
The borough also discussed progress with the ongoing flooding issues on the southern end of the town.
After looking at the troubled area with elected officials, business and property owners, permission was granted by DEP to cut trees and pull the overgrown brush that is blocking the spillway leading to Alford Pond behind the old skating rink property.
However, DEP warned that no machinery could be taken into the wetland area to aid in the cleaning efforts. And, Gulick said, the borough also needs to prove the area was, at one time, a spillway.
Council members reported that 20-30 people had offered to volunteer to help on the project on Saturday.
Council also agreed to draft an letter to PennDOT regarding the growth near the culvert on Rt. 11 that is impeding water flow into the spillway area and backing it up on the Green Gables side of the bridge.
Councilwoman Barb James was appointed to act as the applicant agent for the borough for PEMA and FEMA resolutions.
Hazard Mitigation Specialist Donna Erat, who worked with the county’s recovery efforts after the flooding in 2006, offered her services to New Milford Borough regarding mitigation from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Council plans to discuss the offer further at its work session.
The council voted to advertise the proposed Fire Escrow Ordinance recommended by the borough’s planning commission.
Council also voted to allow Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority to subdivide its2.7 acre Church St.parcel to one 1.7 acre piece (which is the proposed site of the senior apartments), leaving a one acre lot to possibly develop at a later date.
Council was told the subdivision would allow the project to move more quickly through the federal approval process.
It was also reported that the planning commission is in the process of updating the borough’s comprehensive plan.
Possible icing issues on Peck Hill andJohnston Streetwere also discussed by council.
The borough has also been in contact with Montrose who said they would be willing to sell road salt by the truckload toNew Milford.
Back up snowplow drivers are still needed. No one answered an advertisement seeking the back-up driver position. The driver would be hired on an on-call, as needed basis only.