After months of planning, meetings, work sessions and changes, the State College Borough Council will be ready to take a vote on its proposed 2013 budget on Dec. 17.
Throughout the process of adopting the budget, Mayor Elizabeth Goreham and council member Ron Filippelli said they expect it to pass “smoothly.” Here is a breakdown of some major sections of the budget that affect the town:
The police departments, made up of police services to the State College Borough and the townships of Harris and College, makes up the largest portion of the budget — 42.52 percent. Goreham described it as a special concern because of how much of the budget it takes up.
At the Dec. 3 council meeting, State College Police Chief Tom King presented council with his police report.
He proposed a full 65 person staff, but this year’s numbers did not fill that total, Goreham said.
There is a $425,000 increase in the police budget for 2013, and of that amount, $390,000 is allocated for salary and benefits.
King said that most other programs within the police department were budgeted the same, but were done so with a high level of review to keep them.
He also said the police department was reimbursed $300,000 from their work during this fall’s football season.
The next largest section of the budget, taking up 17.46 percent, is public works.
Public works includes planning, supervision, construction and waste management, maintenance, other services and the people involved in those areas.
Few problems with the section made for little discussion from council, but some items were addressed.
Salt usage for the winter season has been reduced, allowing for increased plowing to lessen the need to salt the roads, according to the budget.
The borough also factored in the purchase of new automatic side load trucks for refuse collection, which will result in lower fuel costs for the trucks, according to the budget.
The administration section will see greater growth as a result of increased staffing and costs of employee benefits, as previously reported.
Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said at the Dec. 4 work session the 11 to 12 percent increase was a result of the increased majority of health care and pensions.
Those included under administration are the mayor, manager, administration and secretarial staffs.
Council members said a full, committed staff would be a benefit to the borough.
The most prominent items in the regional program section are the Center Region Council of Governments programs.
Council is looking into withdrawing from two specific programs from the COG, rental housing and property maintenance and the regional planning department.
At the Dec. 10 work session, Fountaine said those particular programs might be better off being run by local programs, not the COG.
Due to the limited short notice of withdrawal from the program, which would have to be before the end of the calendar year, council might wait and not vote on this decision at the Dec. 17, as previously reported.
Planning and Zoning
In 2013, the planning and zoning department will continue to focus on further updating and planning the Downtown Master Plan, allocating $200,000 to do so, as well as completing the West End Revitalization Plan, according to the budget.
The Zoning and Land Development Ordinance Rewrite has be given $176,750 to help with a comprehensive zoning plan to make for a clean slate of zoning laws, according to the budget.
The ordinance enforcement will see an increase in the $15 rental housing fee — which is under the rental housing program — to $17 per unit, according to the budget.
Ordinance enforcement includes programs on monitoring nuisance properties and rental housing inspections for health nuisances and hazards, according to the Department of Ordinance Enforcement and Public Health website.
According to the budget, this will help to increase revenues to almost $20,000, which will help to offset costs used by community and education programs.
One of the major items stressed by Goreham and other council members in this year’s budget was no tax increase.