SHIPPENVILLE - Shippenville Borough Council Oct. 13 acknowledged a real estate tax increase is a move that must be considered.
Discussion on the topic followed borough secretary Jacqui Blose's budget review.
Blose did a full breakdown of both the borough's current and future income and expenditures and advised council into looking for ways to increase revenues.
Blose said the biggest issue figuring out the borough budget is the drop in interest rate return on the borough's certificates of deposit.
Blose said the rate of return from the interest on the CDs is not enough to sustain the borough financially. She also said council might have to discuss raising taxes.
According to borough council president Linda Duffee, Shippenville has not raised its taxes in 19 years. And Duffee agreed with Blose that the borough will have to look into rising taxes due to rising expenses.
Duffee believes a tax rate is unavoidable whether it is next year or in years to come. Duffee said she believes raising the taxes minimally next year would be more palatable for residents than to wait and raise the taxes to an even higher rate a few years from now.
Duffee was hopeful the borough could utilize the CD interest longer but that hasn't come to pass.
Council member Rose Schreckengost asked Blose where she could find a breakdown of all of the borough and township tax rates in Clarion County.
Blose said Schreckengost would find the rates at the Clarion County tax assessor's office.
Gas card billing
Council approved a change in the way it will pay for untaxed fuel for it vehicles.
Borough maintenance supervisor Russell Rennard is the lone borough employee to use the Citgo card. When the card is not available to use because of deactivation, Rennard uses the borough credit card to pay for the fuel but in those situations, the borough has to pay the fuel tax.
Currently, the bill for the fuel card arrives in the mail at the first of the month but by the time the bill is approved to be paid at the borough's monthly meeting the borough has passed the payment date and the card is shut off.
Council member Michael Petronzio suggested adding an extra amount to the card so there would be a reserve balance. However, council member Steve Brocious was not in favor of that idea because of the rapidly increasing price of fuel.
Blose said the borough could have a tank installed at the borough building that could be filled by a fuel company out of Tionesta. Blose said a good number of the townships she works for have went this route.
Council Vice President Chuck Knight and Brocious didn't think the tank was a good idea because he didn't feel the borough would use enough fuel to justify the fuel company to make a delivery.
After a lengthy discussion, the council unanimously approved allowing Blose to pay the balance online when the borough receives the bill and provide the receipt at the following council meeting.
Council also approved Brian Burford of Burford & Henry Real Estate to perform an appraisal on the borough property located behind the Shippen Inn and the Pennsylvania American Water Building at a cost of $300.
The borough intends to sell the small parcel.
Duffee told council members not to look at the appraisal before the entire council has its sales bid opening on the property.
Blose suggested council ask Burford to hold the sealed appraisal until the night the bids for the property are opened. The council unanimously approved having Burford hold the appraisal.