Hamburg Borough Council agreed May 9 to extend the deadline for businesses to hand over money collected by the Emergency and Municipal Services (EMS) tax.

The borough enacted the $52 levy on all workers employed at businesses based in the borough and the self-employed in January.

The previous deadline was March 1. Business owners now have until June 30 to submit the proper amount of tax owed to the borough.

The penalty for late payment is 10 percent of the total tax.

Because of the extension, any penalties collected by the borough as a result of the March 1 deadline will be refunded.

The EMS tax replaced the $10 Occupational Privilege Tax in January.

The borough notified businesses of the change in law in February.

Council Vice President Tammy L. Wilkinson said the borough is giving business owners the extension because of the short notice.

"Most businesses just haven't had enough time to make the corrections," she said.

Some mistakes such as deducting $52 from paychecks and remitting only $10 to the borough are common, she said.

The state authorized municipalities to enact the EMS tax of up to $52 last year in order to help municipalities pay for things like emergency services and road improvements.

In other business, council moved forward on plans to renovate the borough's pools.

Both the adult and children's pools at Hamburg Park need major repairs and will cost somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000, according to an estimate done by Wade Associates, Inc. of Harrisburg.

To help with the funding, the borough received a $300,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Another $10,000 grant is in the works and the remainder will be taken out of the borough's open line of credit.

But Borough Manager Lynda Albright said they will try to limit the use of those funds.

"There are other avenues of fundraising between now and next spring," she said.

The borough wants to begin renovations when the pool closes after Labor Day. They hope to finish by spring of 2006.

In other business, council broke out of an executive session at the end of the meeting to announce the resignation of patrolman Chris Hartz, effective May 28.

After more than two years on the force, Hartz is going back to his former employer in Lebanon County, Wilkinson said.

Part-time patrolman, Bill Kramer, will become full-time beginning June 2.

In other business, council agreed to buy the rest of a parking lot it owns at the northeast corner of State and Front streets.

The borough already owns about one third of the lot that sits on the bank of the Schuylkill River. The lot was purchased for $5,000.

The borough, however, has not made firm plans for the space.

Contact Dan Roman at djroman@berksmontnews.com.

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