KINGSTON – Council passed resolutions Tuesday night to sever the borough's relationship with the Centax/Don Wilkinson Agency and appoint Berkheimer Associates to collect local services taxes and mercantile taxes.
Municipal Administrator Paul Keating said that although he thinks highly of the Keystone Collections Group, he believed it was in the best interest of Kingston to go with Berkheimer, which already has been chosen by the county tax collection committee to replace the failing Centax in the collection of earned income tax for the county.
"We don't have time to interview agencies," he said. "We're looking at a $365,000 deficit in terms of where we should be this year."
Keating said that through good management the municipality has a positive fund balance of $180,000. But, he added, "we should be sitting on a half-million fund balance." He is hoping Kingston will start receiving tax revenues from Berkheimer within two to three weeks.
The council also voted on the introduction of an ordinance that would set a fee schedule for maintenance costs. Keating said the municipality is now maintaining about 35 properties that are abandoned or involved in bankruptcy proceedings. The ordinance would set the cost of these maintenance services and set an interest rate.
Solicitor Harry Mattern said the ordinance would charge the maintenance costs on a property to the bank holding a mortgage on the property.
In other matters, council:
Voted to accept the introduction of a stormwater management ordinance.
Awarded a $128,000 contract to the Derstine Co. for the 2012 Mercer Avenue pump station rehabilitation project. Derstine's was not lowest bid, but the two lower bids did not meet the criteria set out in the project.
Tabled the introduction of an ordinance that would raise the salary of the mayor and council president in 2014.