South Williamsport Borough Council approved its 2013 budget Monday evening that holds the line on all taxes.
Michael D. Miller, borough manager, described the $6.3 million budget as "bare bones" that includes contractual pay increases for union employees.
The budget keeps the borough's millage rate at 4.3 and earned income tax at 1 percent. A $100,000 residence would generate $430 in tax revenue at 4.3 mills.
Glenda Ruch, SEDA-Council of Governments program coordinator, told council that the borough was awarded a $442,320 Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to assist income eligible homeowners in replacing sewer laterals.
The project is part of the borough's mandated comprehensive sewer upgrade that improves a pump station, constructs a 3.4 million gallon storage tank and replaces 3,000 feet of sewer main.
"We can finally focus on this and get it done," Ruch said.
She said, however, that she was disappointed in the small number of applicants to be included in the project. Ruch said about 50 homeowners applied and met income guidelines to be included in the lateral replacements.
Ruch said response was low because some residents "just didn't want to provide us with the information."
Instead of several contractors working on sewer lateral replacements, Ruch suggested the job be bid as a public works project for one contractor. She said that would speed up the project, which is anticipated to be completed by next summer.
Ruch also said there is enough money available that all households that meet income guidelines could get 100 percent of their work paid for. Previously, some homeowners had to pay at least 50 percent, depending on income level.
Council approved the suggestion, with Jeffrey Tompkins and Ed Weinhoffer voting no.
In addition, Ruch suggested that those who fall under the grant funding be required to have their existing sewer laterals excavated and replaced instead of lining the existing pipe for better durability and longevity.
"We might as well do it right," said Councilman Benjamin Landon. "The purpose of this is to get one consistent project."
"It's still taxpayer money, though," said Councilman Anthony Mussare.
Landon said the grant money will be used - whether it is in the borough or elsewhere in the state.
Landon's motion to require excavation for those receiving grant funding failed by a vote of 5-4, but will likely be brought up again at the next public works committee meeting.
Council also decided to spend some money in this year's budget for a new police vehicle.
A total of $15,000 was allocated for a new cruiser to be purchased before the end of the year.
One councilman - Robert Cronin - questioned if a new unit was necessary.
"What is the need to purchase a new car this fiscal year," he asked Police Chief Robert Hetner.
The chief said a new car fits into the department's plan of replacing vehicles before they face costly repairs from demanding use by officers.
"I'm concerned about reliability and safety" when officers are engaged in a pursuit, Hetner said.
Cronin also questioned a donation request from the Lycoming County SPCA for services provided for the borough. The organization asked for a $3,900 donation; council voted to give $1,700.
Hetner said the SPCA assisted the police department in housing loose dogs, while Miller said the organization's humane officers assisted in getting codes officers access to properties that were violating ordinances.
Cronin, Henry Frey and Anthony Mussare voted against the SPCA donation. Tompkins, Weinhoffer, Benjamin Landon, J. Bernard Schelb, Dan Cupp and Richard Harris voted in favor.