Kulpmont council approves preliminary operating budget
KULPMONT - In anticipation of applying for a loan to build a new municipal building and garage this year, borough council approved a preliminary operating budget for 2014.
The preliminary budget, approved on a 5-0 vote Tuesday, will be sent as part of a loan application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of their $1.5 million budget for the design and construction of a new borough building and garage.
Officials have said in the past the costs to repair and maintain their current office, the former Wilson Grade School, are becoming too expensive. In the 2013 budget, the borough lists $18,000 to pay for heating fuel and $12,000 for electricity for the municipal building.
Borough officials say the old building also needs $400,000 in roof repairs, $250,000 for masonry repairs and a new heating system that will cost $100,000. Estimates from the borough's engineer indicate $24,000 to $30,000 a year could be saved in heating costs alone with the new building.
Residents against the project said Kulpmont residents, many of whom are elderly and on a fixed income, cannot afford a tax increase, especially in the current economic climate.
One such resident, Al Blugis, voiced his objection again to council, saying that borough officials can simply work to remodel and renovate the current structure.
"Five years ago, we put in a $50,000 boiler in this building, and that thermostat on the wall in this room is the only way to control the heat. We have put two new roofs on this building in the last 15 years, and it needs a third," mayor Myron Turlis said. "We simply cannot afford this building anymore."
Council president Bruno Varano and members Clarence Deitrick, Philip Scicchitano, Stephanie Niglio and Stephen Motyka voted for the budget and an accompanying resolution, pending approval by the borough's solicitor. Members Joseph Winhofer and Nicholas Bozza were absent from the meeting.
In other business, council also approved a measure to have the names of code violators published in a local newspaper. The names and addresses of offenders will be published when the citations will be filed with a magisterial district judge, much like other municipalities have done.
"Kulpmont was the first to sort of take the lead on cleaning up our community and you see other doing it, so we need to keep up our efforts," Niglio, chairperson of the ordinance committee, said.
Also at Tuesday's meeting:
- The board approved motions to purchase office supplies for the police department, and filed an application to hire a Green Thumb worker for 18 hours a week at no cost to the borough.
- Residents were reminded that Kulpmont's street sweeper will be operational beginning March 28 and 29 and running through September, and that Saturday recycling of newspaper and cardboard is available at the recycling site from 8 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of every month.
- The tot lot playground is tentatively scheduled to open on Monday, April 1 for the season.
- Turlis reminded residents that one-way parking, with the flow of traffic on the North and South-running streets, will be in effect on April 1.