Bellefonte Borough Council approves balanced budget

Council made a resolution Monday — no New Year’s tax increase.

The motion was approved unanimously moments before council approved its balanced budget.

The water authority, however, raised rates 15 cents per 1,000 gallons for the water fund and $7 per quarter for the sewer fund. The authority, which raised the rates unanimously Tuesday, added $5 per quarter for Corning Pump House customers for planned renovations.

Council worked with the police department to lower expenses to balance the budget. It will meet quarterly with the department to review finances. Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said he also hopes to meet with Bellefonte Area School District to discuss long-term expenses for two school resource officers.

Council also approved paperwork to set in motion the relocation of the Freight Building to Talleyrand Park.

The Industrial Development Authority owns the building, though the Bellefonte Historical and Industrial Association are paying to move it. Once it is relocated, likely in January, the ownership will be transferred to the borough and leased to the BHIA to establish a museum.

The borough also got good news.

A letter from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommended final approval for the borough to be reimbursed about $540,000 for work done to West Lamb Street. Hurricane Sandy damaged the road and storm drain system.

“If it didn’t get all of the final approvals, we would have no choice but to take those costs out of our general fund and or our liquid fuels funding for paving, most likely,” Stewart said. “Thank goodness PEMA and FEMA are covering expenses for that flooding disaster.”

Centre County’s commissioners also approved a $15,000 Liquid Fuels Fund project for the borough to install a traffic light in front of the Undine Fire House to stop traffic when firefighters need to pull out or back into the garage.

“It came to borough’s attention that firefighters there had difficulty getting traffic to stop when they were going in and out of the fire station,” Stewart said. “Some cars will weave around a firefighter or a truck in the road, and that’s not safe for them to try to manage.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli