Recycling program forces Clarion to shuffle revenues

Tentative 2020 budget does not include a tax increase

By Rodney L. Sherman

CLARION NEWS Editor

CLARION

Clarion Borough Nov. 5 gave its tentative approval to a 2020 budget holding tax levels at 2019 rates.

While real estate tax millage is anticipated to remain the same at 22 mills, where those dollars go will be reallocated.

Clarion Borough Council president Carol Lapinto told the CLARION NEWS state mandated recycling costs have increased.

"We had to re-bid for the (recycling) service," said Lapinto. "Quite frankly, no one wants to do it anymore."

Lapinto said the plan council will consider includes moving .095 mills from the general fund to the recycling fund and .15 mills from the street light revenue to the recycling account.

The borough's new five-year recycling collection and processing contract with Advanced Disposal will cost $3,273 per month.

That's up from $2,493 per month under the old contract, a difference of $780 per month or about $9,360 per year.

Because it's population is more than 5,000, the borough is mandated by the state to participate in a recycling program that includes homes and businesses and schools.

Clarion Borough enacted the "Resource Recovery and Recycling Ordinance of the Borough of Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania" in 1991.

The law was put into place in 1988 under Act 101 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The law states in Ch. 15, Section 1501(b), "a municipality other than a county that has a population of more than 5,000 people but less than 10,000 people shall establish and implement a source-separation and collection program"

According to U.S. Census Bureau 2017 estimation, Clarion Borough's population is 5,305.

Within Clarion Borough's ordinance #91-659, this recycling program is mandated for all properties within the borough, whether they are residential or commercial, for the separation of recyclables from refuse and rubbish.

Over the past decade, the prices paid for recyclable materials has dropped significantly, forcing municipalities mandated to have recycling programs to pay significantly more for the service.

2020 general fund highlights

Revenues

The borough anticipates $1,118,045 in "Act 511) tax revenues which include per capita, real estate transfer, earned income, emergency services and mechanical devices taxes; $684,345 in real estate tax revenue; $227,820 in licenses and permit fee payments; $90,395 in fines; $1,525 in in interest and royalties; $7,955 in inter-governmental revenues; $204,625 in charges of services and $6,100 in miscellaneous revenues.

Total local revenue is anticipated at $2,042,885.

Expenditures

Lapinto said the borough plans on buying a new general purpose truck and a new police vehicle.

Other anticipated expenditures include $207,865 in employee salaries and benefits; $309,159 for building and grounds operations and maintenance; $931,255 for public safety (including police wages and benefits); $92,385 for housing and zoning expenses and enforcement; $339,340 for public works including wages and benefits; and $300,000 for debt service.

Total general fund expenditures are anticipated at $2,076,315.

The anticipated budget shortfall will be covered by the borough's unreserved fund balance anticipated to be $515,485.

Parking meters

Parking meter revenues for 2020 are $72,500.

Expenses in the parking meter section of the budget include $22,000 for wages and benefits for meter enforcement and $1,285 for meter maintenance and minor equipment.

State highway aid

Clarion Borough anticipates $159,160 in state highway aid next year. Expenditures are estimated at $100,686.

The proposed budget must be publicly advertised for 30 days. Council can then formally adopt the budget in December.n