Kutztown Borough Council unanimously approved the 2021 proposed budget of $4,855,000 with no tax increase at its virtual meeting on Dec. 15.

The proposed 2021 tax rate remains at 4.6 mills.

“This Council has made some moves to save costs for some people in the Borough during our economic downturn this summer going into the fall this year,” said Council Vice President Derek Mace. “I think we’ve asked the Borough staff to some things to help residents and to protect themselves and still the budget has managed to come out to be a fairly good situation. We’re a little behind it but it’s a good budget and we’ve maintained our Reserves. I like this budget.”

Mace thanked Borough Manager Gabriel Khalife for his efforts to put this budget together. Khalife credited department heads for making this budget possible.

In other news, Council approved accepting two bi-lingual signs, purchased by Deutsch-Pennsylvanishcher Arbeitskreis and Elwetrittche Verein.

The signs, which will have both Pennsylvania German and English, will be placed at the Kutztown Park and at the Kutztown Borough Band Shell to tell the history of both sites. The Pennsylvania German wording will be provided by Donna Moyer.

“I like the idea of bi-lingual signs,” said Mace.

Mace also expressed concern about the lifespan of the signs, noting that the signs placed at the Saucony Trail about 15 years ago are early unreadable.

Kutztown Mayor Jim Schlegel suggested seeing the bi-lingual signs recently placed at the Kutztown Area Historical Society 1892 Public School Building, which were also purchased by Deutsch-Pennsylvanishcher Arbeitskreis and Elwetrittche Verein. Not able to put a year on the lifespan of the signs, Schlegel anticipated the signs lasting a long time.

“It is high quality; I’ve seen them,” assured Schlegel.

“The park is the town gem that everybody wants to protect so I just want to make sure these are high quality,” said Mace.

Council President Kevin Snyder noted that the deteriorated signs at the park, such as the park rules signs, are scheduled to be replaced.

In a 3 to 2 vote, Council approved extending the pool snack stand lease agreement with the Kutztown Community Partnership for the 2021 season and also approved extending the park snack stand lease agreement with Mad Dogs for the 2021 season.

Kutztown Borough Manager Gabriel Khalife explained that the previous the snack stand operator handled both the pool and park stands. Several years ago when the snack stand operation was left vacant, KCP stepped in to take care of the pool stand and Mad Dogs applied for the park stand, both signing leases, said Khalife.

Since then, Khalife said snack stand operation has been enhanced for activities.

Council member Arabel Elliott expressed concern about approving the snack stand leases in light of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

“They’re only going to operate if we open the park (and pool), then we go with the guidelines,” said Snyder.

In other news, Council approved a $1,000 donation to Zoe’s House, Inc., a no-kill animal shelter in Sinking Spring, and approved paying the shelter $250 per dog if they rescue more than four dogs within a year.

“Essentially, our officers need someplace to take dogs. We changed this about year or two ago and Zoe’s House has been situation for us, cheaper than our alternatives,” said Mace.

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