Leesport Borough Council agreed to advertise their 2009 budget with plans to vote on it at council's October meeting.The 2009 proposed budget totals $1,112,500 and reflects a $45,000 decrease from this year's budget of $1,157,825.
Borough Manager Sandra L. Weiser called it a "good, tight budget in which we do not need to increase taxes."
Weiser said that the largest cut in the budget is in money available to repair the borough's roads. The current budget had $100,000 in it as opposed to $23,000 for the proposed 2009 budget. Weiser said that in previous years she has added or deducted from this part of the budget and considers it flexible.
"We have many elderly residents on fixed incomes, so we did not want to raise taxes," she said.
One area that reflects council's concern for residents is in the borough's trash pickup rates. Last October, a new contract was signed with the borough's trash hauler in which the cost to the borough doubled.
Weiser pointed out that the borough is very happy with its trash hauler and that the cost is still very reasonable.
"We've kept the same hauler (Lebanon Farms Disposal, Schaefferstown, Lebanon County) for the new contract," Weiser said. "In the previous contract, residents paid $48 per quarter for trash service.
"Even though the contract from the hauler doubled, we did not pass that increase on to the residents. Council plans to gradually increase rates by $10 per year until we break even."
In January 2008, rates increased to $58 per quarter and another $10 increase will occur in January 2009, she said.
Councilman Martin Goetz said that he does not believe that residents are aware of the situation.
"I don't think they know that council took the full hit for the rate increase," he said.
Weiser noted that the borough currently collects about $46,000 from residents quarterly and pays about $75,000 to the hauler.
"Each $10 increase will provide an additional $8,000," she said.
In other news, Borough Engineer Jason Newhard informed council that its request for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was denied.
"Berks County (representatives) said that there are not enough funds available," Newhard said. "The state is cutting budget grants."
Newhard said that the council planned to use the grant toward a storm water pipe that had an estimated cost of $250,000.
In other news, council discussed installing dawn to dusk lights at the Rachel Trois Memorial Park with $10,000 that was received from a memorial softball tournament.
President Dori Angelis said that this money is designated for improvements to the park. She said that she hopes this would be a deterrent to late night activity at the park.
In other news, pickup for fall clean up will be on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Councilman Glen A. Moyer was absent.
Council's next meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Borough Hall.