No Good News As Brookville Seeks Answers To Budget Woes

karen-allgeierBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — The financial picture for Brookville Borough continues to look dim after council members spent a good portion of Tuesday night’s meeting discussing how to balance the budget for 2017.

(Photo: Karen Allgeier)

Needing about $200,000 to balance the budget, council is still struggling with coming up with ways to increase the money in their coffers, making it more likely a tax increase is coming.

“I feel like we are between a rock and a hard place,” council member Karen Allgeier said.

“We are,” replied council vice president Phil Hynes.

Hynes said there were a few suggestions from council members between the last borough meeting and Tuesday’s.

Allgeier said the budget looks pretty bare bones to her, an assertion that has been made a number of times by other council members and some borough employees.

“I hate to cut stormwater (management) completely because we have issues and if anything does happen $25,000 isn’t going to cover much,” Allgeier said. “We need to pursue grants that aren’t matching.”

Borough manager Dana Shick said she has looked at CDBG non-entitlement money every year and the borough fails the income levels to get more money there.

“I haven’t heard anything from anyone,” Shick said in regard to possible solutions. “I need your ideas.”

Council member Dave Ferringer said he hoped each council member could come up with five ideas to balance the budget, but then hoped for three apiece after more discussion ensued.

dave-ferringer“Something has to change here, big time,” Farringer said. “Most of our expenses are in insurance. We are a town of 3,000-plus people and we can only afford so much. We have to find somewhere to cut costs.

“I have some ideas, but I’m not pitching them tonight,” Farringer said. “But they have to be substantial.

“I was a businessman here for 33 years and when I wanted to sell my building after 28 years, the appraisers told me it was worth less now than it was then and with an addition put on,” Farringer said. “People aren’t gonna mind paying more taxes if they properties are worth more, but they are darn sure not gonna like paying more if they (properties) are worth less.”

Allgeier said there needs to be a way to develop income streams.

“Right now, there are taxes, money from parking meters, grants that the police have, liquid fuels and rent. That’s it and there has to be something else,” Allgeier said.

One idea she had to create money was a public access TV station.

“I’ve had some discussions with some groups that may be willing to provide the equipment and if we get that, there could be a small charge for that,” Allgeier said. “Whether it’s $5 or $10, it’s something.

“We gotta go where there’s some money.”

Farringer said he appreciated the idea, but he said collecting the fees for something like that would be eaten up by administrative costs.

“We can’t continue handing out raises of the magnitude we might have in past years and that a 2-mill tax increase would only get you $160,000 and that just gets you caught up and you’re not gonna get ahead,” Farringer said.

Allgeier questioned Public Works Director Dave Vallosio about tarring and chipping roads instead of paving and the difference in life span between the two.

Vallosio explained that seal coating is preferred to oiling and chipping streets and it does last longer, but not as long as paving.

Allgeier also complained about the prevailing wage in regard to road projects is killing small towns.

“I don’t need to be paying the prevailing wage for Pittsburgh. We could get a lot more done with the same amount of money.

“I know our state representatives have tried to get this through, but I don’t know how to fight it.”

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