The following is the truth concerning Mrs. Arnold’s allegations of “injustices” by Muncy Borough Council in the Sept. 16 issue. If Council’s attempts to save taxpayers the burden of increased taxes and increased water/sewer bills, or to hold personnel accountable or to preserve the integrity of the borough are “injustices,” then Mrs. Arnold and I surely look to very different sources of right and wrong.
Raised fees for all borough services.
Users’ fees for fee-based services increased for the first time since 1991. Fee-based services, such as zoning permits and hearings, restaurant inspections, etc. should be paid by the few who use them not by all residents. This is simply sound fiscal policy.
Manipulated budgeted accounts, moved money around and paid bills out of the wrong accounts.
The 2009 budgets adopted in December, 2008 are unchanged from when they were passed. The six-month actual costs to budgets show that expenses are in line or below the budgeted expense. At the six-month mark, the borough’s budgets were in very good shape.
Passed a very restrictive zoning ordinance
The recently adopted zoning ordinance is not more restrictive but protects the property values of Muncy residents.
Met in secrecy
All council meetings regularly scheduled or special meetings are advertised and open to the public. Council strongly encourages the public to attend these meetings.
Stymied sewer regionalization with Montgomery
Council has taken very seriously its obligation to borough residents to make the most well-informed decision regarding sewer regionalization with Montgomery. Council conducted its own financial review of the plan, an independent engineering firm and the Lycoming County Planning Commission reviewed the plan.
Making a decision to participate in constructing a $25 million dollar sewer treatment plant is a decision that should be thoroughly reviewed by numerous independent resources as a result of such a project will be a great increase in taxes to borough residents and an estimated quadrupling of sewer rates for all customers.
Changed borough meeting policy
For the first time ever, Council adopted two required policies regarding public meetings and open records. Each was developed following guidelines set by the PA Open Meetings Law and PA Right to Know Law.
Hired two more law firms in addition to borough’s counsel
Council engaged Davis, Davis and Karr to represent the borough to eliminate any conflict of interest. Council engaged the Eckert Seamans law firm to represent the borough in litigation initiated by the Muncy Borough Municipal Authority. Muncy Borough will also see additional legal fees as a result of a law suit initiated by Dan Arnold. Muncy Borough Council has not initiated any legal action.
Changed personnel policies, job descriptions, insurance, and pension plans
Insurance and pension plans are under review because Muncy Borough taxpayers can no longer be expected to pay these costs at 100%. Pension plan costs are expected to exceed $100,000 for 2010. Health insurance costs for borough employees will top $96,000 for 2010. Modifications must be made to control costs.
Muncy borough expects to receive $300,000 in real estate taxes in 2010. It is not possible to spend almost 2/3 of that amount solely for pension and health insurance plans for borough employees.
It is important for Muncy residents to know all the facts. Your all-volunteer borough council is working very hard to bring integrity and financial security back to our community that is our only “quest.”
Vivian Daily, Muncy Borough Council President