This admonition, which comes from self-described tea party member Bryan Eichfeld, was delivered to Hellertown Borough Council at their November 1 meeting. Hellertown has only collected $370,580 of the $500,000 in revenues anticipated this year.
"When we're raising a mill just to pay salaries, that scares me, it really does," stated Council member Stephanie Kovacs, who spent the evening questioning line item after line item in an unsuccessful effort to reduce expenses.
Richard Staffieri, who has served on Council for over forty years, condemned paying "salaries that are outrageous when the people that are paying the salaries aren't working." But he added, "I agree with 51% of this budget, so I'll vote for this budget."
With Council members Kovacs and Thomas Rieger voting No, the other members agreed to a Staffieri motion to advertise the budget as a preliminary step towards adoption. Council President Philip Weber advised that, though advertised, the budget can still be modified until December 6, the date set for adoption. The budget is available at Borough Hall for public review until November 29.
In addition to agreeing to advertise a budget calling for a possible 6.25% tax hike, Council members listened to a report from their engineer. Hellertown's busy Main Street is sometimes referred to as a "Berlin Wall," separating the western and eastern parts of the borough. Borough Engineer Bryan Smith has attempted to tear down that wall, unveilig the results of a $90,500, nine-month "walkable community smart transportation study."
Among 28 recommendations to make Hellertown more walker friendly, Smith proposes installing two additional traffic lights on Main Street, and reducing its speed limit to 25 mph. He also urged that Borough Council make some changes to the intersection of Main Street and Easton Avenue, and advised that the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has up to $500,000 available. Council gave Smith a green light to apply for some of this grant money, with Council member Stephanie Kovacs opposed.
Public Works Director Tom Henshaw also reported that Santa Claus will be visiting Hellertown at 7 PM, November 26, to celebrate "Light Up Night" at the Fountain Plaza.