Budget passes with 1-mill tax hike

Shawn Hardy

Dirk and Jenna Mowen, owners of Ganoe Paving, are donating $25,000 to the Borough of Greencastle for the painting of the clock tower.

Their identity was revealed Thursday night after a meeting at which borough council approved a $1.8 million budget for 2018 supported by a 1-mill property tax increase.

Painting the clock tower was an item deferred in this year’s spending plan and word of an anonymous donor surfaced amid budget talks.

The Mowens both grew up in the community.

“We thought it was a really good place to put some money,” Jenna said. “It’s an important landmark in this town.”

“I look at the clock every time I go through the Square. We do a lot of business in the borough and like to give back,” said Dirk Mowen, who went up on the roof with borough representatives to take a close look at the tower. Jenna prefers to view the clock tower from ground level.

While covering the tower with composite materials has been discussed, it was determined after inspection that scraping and painting are the best options, especially with all its ornate architectural features.

After the donation was unanimously accepted, Councilman Craig Myers explained specifications will be developed and bids sought. Work is likely to begin in the first quarter of 2018 and the clock tower will be in good shape for Old Home Week in 2019.

“The generosity of our community is something we should all be proud of. Thank you!” Council President Frank Webster said in a press release.

The budget 

Council approved the $1,840.423.34 budget, largely unchanged from the preliminary version approved earlier this month, then raised the property tax rate from 14 to 15 mills, which will cost the typical taxpayer an additional $20.51 and generate an extra $38,000 for the borough.

One measure to reduce expenses is raising family health care premiums for borough employees. Employees will still be covered 100 percent, but the family contribution is going up from 25 to 40 percent.

In addition, council voted to raise sewer rates from $7.22 to $8.60 per 1,000 gallons. The quarterly rate for the minimum use of 9,000 will go from $64.98 to $77.40.