The Elizabethtown Borough Council reached a consensus to contribute $30,000 to Northwest Emergency Medical Services, which is $5,000 more than the nonprofit ambulance company had requested, while aiming for a property tax increase of one tenth of a mill.
Northwest EMS is having financial problems in part because of the opioid epidemic and the number of emergency calls made for overdoses. The borough had contributed $20,000 to the ambulance company in 2018; councilors agreed at their meeting on Thursday, Dec. 6, to increase that by $10,000 in 2019.
Councilors also reached a consensus on adding $75,000 to the park fund in 2019, in part to plan for replacement of the aging Fun Fort in Community Park.
The budget plans for an increase in support for the Elizabethtown Public Library from $48,000 in 2018 to $60,000 in 2019, which is the level of $5 per person that the library had requested. The library is an independent nonprofit.
The tax rate is to be made official at the meeting to be held Thursday, Dec. 20. The tax increase of a tenth of a mill would mean a home with an assessed value of $100,000 would be taxed $440 in 2019, up from $430 in 2018. The borough had previously advertised a maximum tax rate of 4.8 mills, which would mean the home with an assessed value of $100,000 would be taxed $480 in 2019.\
In other business, councilors approved a proposal from Fidevia Construction Management and Consulting to provide construction management services for the public works garage construction project. The project is to build a new garage so that all public works vehicles can be stored inside; currently, many are parked outside, reducing their useful life. Council members also approved a three-year agreement with Republic Services for hauling biosolids from the sewage treatment plant. Previously, the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority had performed that service, but LCSWMA will no longer do so.
Police Chief Ed Cunningham said there has been a significant increase in complaints about drivers passing school buses that are dropping off or picking up children. He noted that this is a serious offense because of the danger to children.
“We will be increasing our special details around the school buses,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham also noted that a number of streets will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 8, for the annual Holiday Parade. At 2:30 p.m., College Avenue will be closed from South Market Street to Cherry Alley and West Bainbridge Street will be closed from South Market Street to Masonic Drive. At 3:30 p.m., Market Street will be closed from Arch Street to Willow Street and High Street will be closed from Spruce Street to Poplar Street. Cherry Alley and Peach Alley will remain open, but turns onto High Street will not be allowed. All the streets should reopen by 6 p.m., Cunningham said.