AVOCA — Council members this week approved the first reading of the proposed 2018 budget, which totals $1.102 million and calls for no tax increase.
The property-tax rate will stay at 2.3 mills. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.
This is the first time the borough has had a budget exceeding $1 million, according to council president John Boone.
“We’re finishing with enough surplus in the budget to carry us through the first couple of months (of 2018) until these revenues start coming back in again,” he said.
The budget allows council members to hire a third part-time street department worker and make payments on the current borough building, which opened earlier this year.
A second reading and approval of the proposed budget is expected at council’s next meeting in December.
Also this week, council members approved tax incentives for fire company and EMS volunteers. Active volunteers will be rewarded with a discount of 20 percent when paying borough property taxes.
Councilman Gary Halagarda, who is also a volunteer firefighter with the Avoca Hose Co., said volunteers will need to meet certain requirements before they are granted the discount.
“They can’t just join, become a member and not show up,” added Boone.
Halagarda said he’s hopeful this will convince more people to volunteer.
“I think it’s a great recruitment tool,” he said. “It’s not only a benefit for the active volunteers that we do have who own property in town, but it’s a recruiting tool to get more volunteers to come in.”
In other business, council members:
• Paid $2,500 to Ed Krasavage Construction, of Wyoming, to fix a sewer problem on Grove Street.
• Approved $64,418 to Kobalt Construction, of Pocono Summit, for work on the ADA Parks Project which made Plane Street Park and West Avoca Park more handicapped accessible.
• Paid $4,300 to Ed Krasavage Construction to repair a manhole on the corner of Grove Street.
• Donated $500 to the Greater Pittston Regional Compost Facility.