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Tyrone Borough passes 2006 budget

Tyrone Borough Council passed the 2006 budget at last night’s meeting.
The vote came a little less than two weeks after an extended discussion of the borough’s budget. That session eventually saw council members pass a proposed budget that was made available for public inspection.
At the Nov. 30 meeting, some council members indicated a tax increase might be needed. A discussion also ensued about capital items in the budget and other costs.
Initially, council members deadlocked on passing the proposed budget that showed a $102,000 deficit in its general fund. A motion was made to use capital reserves to cover the amount. Four members voted for the motion and four voted against.
At the Nov. 30 meeting, council took a recess and then decided to remove a phone system and codification of the borough’s ordinances from capital items.
Another motion was made and seconded to pass the budget with the use of reserves to balance it. Council member Bill Latchford made the motion, but only after making it clear that council would have to seriously consider a tax increase during budget discussion next year. He asked if at least one council member that had voted yes to the previous motion would be willing to consider an increase next year. Among returning members, Virgie Werner said council would have to see where things were next year and make a decision based on that.
That was good enough for Latchford and he moved the proposed budget be passed. The motion carried five to three with Latchford changing his vote from a “no” to “yes.” The three council members who voted “no” both times were Jennifer Bryan, Bill Fink and Mark Kosoglow.
During last night’s meeting, all three once again voted “no” to passing the final budget using the capital reserves. The budget included the general fund, capital expenditure fund, the water fund, sewer fund and highway aid fund.
Council also passed an ordinance to set compensation for borough employees for 2006. In that vote, Latchford abstained since some of his family members are borough employees. The motion passed four to three with Bryan, Fink and Kosoglow maintaining their “no” stance.
Council also set fees and taxes for 2006. The vote was five to three on that motion, with Bryan, Fink and Kosoglow voting “no”.
After the meeting, Bryan said, “I’m not in favor of raising taxes either, any more that I believe the other two (Fink and Kosoglow) are, but I feel we have to do it.
“Even though Bill (Latchford) voted yes, it was with the contention that we have to definitely look at it,” said Bryan. “We have to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.”
She said she didn’t think the borough could continue to use capital reserves to balance the budget.
“It’s just not feasible, next year it (the deficit) is going to be double,” said Bryan. “A lot of people don’t think that it will be, but it will be. I feel that we needed to raise our EIT (Earned Income Tax) or the EMS (Emergency Municipal Service) tax in order to recoup some.”
She said she didn’t think there were enough things that could be cut from the budget to balance it at this point. She also cited insurance, specifically health insurance as being a major cost and something the borough does not “have complete control over” due to union contract negotiations.
The budget includes the following cash and revenues and expenses projected as of Jan. 1, 2006:
• general fund, $2,861,000 with expenses of $2,861,000;
• capital expenditure fund, $11,200 with expenses of $11,200;
• water fund, $1,681,000 with expenses of $1,544,000;
• sewer fund, $2,553,000 with expenses of $2,282,000 and
• highway aid fund, $155,000 and expenses of $155,000.
Total cash and revenues are listed at $7,261,200 with expenses of $6,853,200.
The Borough listed overall cash and investments of $1,239,00 to be on hand as of Jan. 1, 2006. Borough manager Sharon Dannaway said the borough is using $102,000 from capital reserves under general government to balance the budget. The move is projected to leave the borough with a capital reserve of $1,137,000 at the end of 2006.