Tunkhannock Township supervisors gave the thumbs up to a $1,691,390 budget that for the moment is operating in the red by about $6,500, but not to worry, they say.
Secretary Judy Gingher said the main budget that was advertised a few weeks ago had about a $43,000 deficit and that had been whittled down, and as more information comes in all should be in the clear.
Supervisor Randy Whited underscored that “The good news is that there is no tax increase.”
He noted that although some residents had reviewed the budget there were no written comments suggesting concerns.
The tax rate for property owners remains at 4.5 mills for the township and 1.5 mills for the fire protection fund.
A mill is a $1 dollar tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value.
In other business, the supervisors addressed the recent election and noted that an auditor’s position remains open with a 2-year term involved.
Anyone Tunkhannock Township resident interested should contact the township office.
Supervisors briefly considered the possibility of allowing an Act 42 Category 4 mini casino in the township, but quickly decided against it.
Local attorney and resident Gerald Grimaud spoke out against it, and offered three examples of individuals whose lives were/have been damaged by gambling, and said, “I don’t like it and it’s not something we need in Tunkhannock Township tempting our youth.”
Supervisor Veto Barziloski said he believed that because a part of the township lays within 25 lineal miles of a casino (at Mohegan Sun), that it was likely a moot point for Tunkhannock any way.
He added that if the township were to say yes, it was a course of action that could not be turned back.
White said it was the fear of the unknown that was also his concern.
“We have no idea where this could take us,” he said. “We’re better off just saying no.”
Supervisor Glenn Shupp put a motion on the floor to say the supervisors rejected the idea of allowing mini casinos in the township. It passed unanimously.
The township briefly talked about retaining legal counsel in a matter in Overfield Township where Tunkhannock police responded to an incident several years ago where an individual was killed, and there had been some discussion about there being a conflict of interest with the same lawyer representing multiple municipalities.
Secretary Gingher said that was mostly because they all had the same insurance carrier, and from the township’s vantage point there was no conflict.
The supervisors decided to retain the counsel.
Supervisors also got a letter from Reuther & Bowen Engineering and Design regarding the possibility of opening a water withdrawl site on the old Huey Trucking property opposite Dunkin Donuts.
Gingher said the firm essentially asked for a municipal letter stating any restrictions the township had on that kind of use.
She added the initial letter suggested that a 1.5 million gallon holding tank would be installed accommodating up to six water trucks at one time.
Gingher suggested this was the township’s first notification of a plan at that location, and before anything would be built there would likely be public hearings with the county planning commission and/or the state Department of Environmental Protection having permit considerations.
The township had on its agenda the possibility of an end-of-year meeting before Dec. 31, but the supervisors said there was nothing pressing and so nothing was scheduled.
There next scheduled meeting will be a reorganization one at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2, with a regular business meeting to follow.