Fire tax controversy was a main topic at the latest meeting of Marietta Borough Council.
Councilor Robert Shambaugh said at the meeting on Tuesday, April 10, that the Marietta Pioneer Fire Company needed help in paying its building loan payment of $20,000 due on May 1.
A fire truck is collateral and could be taken over by the bank collecting the loan payments, Shambaugh said.
The fire company was recently informed it would not receive a $20,000 grant it had been receiving since 2014.
Shambaugh thought the loss of the grant correlated to the beginning of the borough’s fire tax. “There’s a total misunderstanding about what the fire tax is. Basically, the fire tax will protect those funds for fire protection services — meaning Borough cannot go and use them for something else because they were collected under the umbrella of the fire tax. But we also have an obligation to the taxpayers and to the state to ensure that those funds are spent a certain way,” Councilor Bridey Hannold said.
She said the fire tax is for operating costs and for a possible savings account of $10,000 in emergency funds.
Former Mayor Raymond Vegso suggested Council use money from the capital reserve fund to advance the $20,000 to the fire company for the truck payment.
Council approved making an advanced payment to the fire company as a stopgap measure for its truck payment, with the funding details to be decided in the next couple of months.
Borough Council also voted to fund a $2,000 traffic safety study on Old Furnace Road at Route 441. When Marietta gets a lot of trail traffic in the warmer weather, the vehicles will be counted.
Also at the meeting, Hannold announced she is moving to East Donegal Township. She will have to resign her seat on council once she leaves Marietta.
In other news, the borough discussed the possibility of selling its old street signs after receiving calls from citizens who are interested in purchasing them.
The office has a list of residents asking about the signs, which are being replaced because they are no longer legal.
The next meeting of the Marietta Borough Council is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, at council chambers, 113 E. Market St., in Marietta.