Antrim sets 2011 budget

PAT FRIDGEN

An historically brief meeting for Antrim Township ran longer, since passage of the next year's budget the last week of the current year took more time than usual. And citizens appeared to voice their thoughts on an issue yet again.

The Board of Supervisors met the morning of Dec. 29 to approve the 2011 budget. It had not been changed from the preliminary numbers accepted on Nov. 23. Nevertheless, the members present, Rick Baer, Sam Miller, Fred Young III and James Byers, took their time. Curtis Myers was absent.

A deficit loomed for the general fund, with revenue projected at $2.4 million, and expenses at $3.3 million. The gap would be filled by transferring $941,500 from the landfill fund.

The sewer fund was expected to operate in the red by $344,000. Capital reserves were slated to drop by $130,000. The landfill fund was expected to generate $588,000. Documents indicated the recreation fee fund would produce $8,060 in revenue but $23,100 in expenditures. Spending of state monies was seen as less than received. The capital improvement and Martin's Mill Bridge funds were also expected to grow.

With all categories taken into consideration, the supervisors looked over the 2011 budget, which would drop Antrim coffers by $819,847 during the year.

While Byers did not agree with every portion of the budget, he said overall it was "OK" and moved to adopt it. Young gave the second, adding, "I"m optimistic we'll close the deficit. The bottom line is, roads are not cheap."

Antrim plans to fix Coseytown Road for $636,000, Maryland Line Road for $125,000 and Lehman Road for $100,000.

The motion passed 4-0.

The board approved an increase in fees for the neighborhoods served by street lights. The quarterly fees were raised $1.50 or $2. Baer was also relieved of his duties as acting roadmaster/maintenance superintendent, since permanent employee Tom Davis was hired in November.

Visitors

Brenda McQuait spoke for the third time on Norfolk Southern's impact to the area once its intermodal facility was done. She said DEP was not concerned with any environmental impact, but she still wanted trees planted to absorb carbon dioxide, for businesses to erect signs banning idling in compliance with Act 124 of 2008, and for a quiet zone if the train horns bothered residents. She also hoped the future redesigned exit 3 could handle the new traffic.

McQuait said many communities with terminals had NS information on the municipal websites, but Antrim did not, so residents did not have access to  data.

"As a government body, that's what we're here for," she told the board. "To protect the viability of the rest of the community."

Jim Winslow had listened to the audio of a recent township meeting and wanted to know what citizens could do to keep abreast of NS plans. He was interested in the environment and crime, among other issues.

"Saying is one thing, being able to validate in documents makes me more comfortable," he stated.

Miller said any information Antrim had was public record and he wanted a diagram of the project hung in the lobby.

Miller emphasized that he had always supported the facility, but the $45 million allocated by the state of Pennsylvania was towards construction only, not for the exit. He also verified, due to at least one supervisor challenging him in the past, that Antrim had never negotiated with NS on improving the Williamsport Pike/Hykes Road intersection, which he predicted would become more dangerous once traffic was rerouted from the closed Milnor Road. Miller said he had met Dec. 21 with Roger Bennett, NS director of industrial development, who agreed the two sides had not discussed the matter.

"It was a pretty good meeting," he announced. "He's sent information here on how they will comply with federal regulations. Everything will be answered, he assured us of that."

As the meeting wrapped, McQuait queried, "What next? Are you going to run with any of this?"

Young asked for copies of her report, and said he would give one to NS. "I think it's great to bring these (issues) up."