Northampton Press

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bath Borough Council talks possible tax increase

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

Group is reviewing alternatives to Colonial Regional Police Department services

Taxes and the budget were the primary topics at the March 6 meeting of Bath Borough Council.

Council has reduced the budget expenditures as much as possible. Yet, despite the cuts, costs continue to escalate.

This fall, council is still looking at a potential tax increase — in excess of two mills.

To also help control costs, a full-time public works position was eliminated, and borough council President Mark Saginario said council is cutting as many budget corners as possible while striving to keep borough services high.

Contacted after the meeting, borough Manager Brad Flynn said, “We have to look at big expenses — consider looking at how we are policing. Taxpayers must understand that any increased cost in Colonial Regional (Police Department) policing will result in a tax increase.” Council is seeking options to Colonial Regional services. A Citizens Police Advisory Panel is gathering information about the least-costly policing plan for the borough.

Flynn said, “There will be a town hall meeting this summer to talk about policing options.”

A possible departure from the Colonial Regional Police Department arrangement is reportedly on the table.

In another large issue, the plans for vacating the current borough building and relocating to the Thirst Quenchers building are proceeding. The municipal building layout is expected to be finalized by next month. Construction work on the site is planned to begin in May. The plan is to hold the first council meeting at the new location in November.

Much of the work will be performed by community volunteers. Citizens interested in volunteering to help with the project can call the borough office, 610-837-6525, to volunteer.

Council member Carol Bear-Heckman reported that the Bath Museum Committee plans to apply to the IRS for a 501(c)3 nonprofit designation. Attaining this tax status will facilitate grant applications and allow any private donations to the museum to be tax deductible. Bear-Heckman said the committee will downsize its collection of historical items as it prepares to relocate to the new municipal building later this year.

In other business, plans for the Aug. 26 Spuds and Suds festival are firming up. It will be held noon to 7 p.m. There will be a Spuds and Suds launch party 5:50-7:30 p.m. July 27 at the Weyerbach Taproom.

The next meeting of Bath Borough Council meeting is April 5. A special session will be held 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting 7 p.m.

Unofficially, it was reported that several candidates have filed for election to Council. Incumbent Democrats Bear-Heckman and Michele Ehrgott and Republican Michael Reph will seek re-election. Democrats Tony Kovalovsky and Harrel Geter also plan to participate in the Democratic primary. Mayor Fiorella Mirabito is seeking re-election to the office of mayor.