indiana borough bldg sign

Indiana Borough Council approved a $6,129,479 budget for 2020 at what for all intents and purposes was its last regular meeting of 2019.

Borough Manager C. Michael Foote said it is 7 percent smaller and requires 7 percent less revenue than the $6,561,759 spending plan for this year, and smaller in turn than the $6,674,449 budget for 2018.

And it is being done with no tax increase. The tax ordinance also approved Tuesday night retains a 6.022 mill rate, with 5.662 mills levied on each dollar of assessed valuation of real property within the borough.

The tax also includes 0.136 mills for the Indiana Free Library, 0.189 mills for fire protection and 0.035 mills for shade trees in the borough.

Given that property in Indiana County is assessed at 100 percent of its market value as determined in 2015, the total Indiana Borough tax on a home with an assessed value of $100,000 is $602.20.

Council also approved a wage and benefit resolution for 2020; a fee schedule resolution for the coming year; and a transfer of $500,000 from the Solid Waste/Recycling Fund to the General Fund for a period of 12 months.

It approved an application to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for a $320,555 Small Water and Sewer grant for the Rex and Gompers Avenues Sanitary Sewer Project, which will get a 15 percent match or $48,084 from the borough’s Sewer Maintenance Fund.

And it approved the sale of a 1995 International dump truck currently parked at the Wastewater Treatment Plant for $7,300 to Floy Fennell, who offered the highest bid for the vehicle.

The borough is offering neighboring White Township its support for a state Growing Greener grant that would allow for expansion of park space and green infrastructure in the Chevy Chase Heights area adjacent to downtown Indiana.

“We feel it is helpful to us in our endeavors,” Foote said.

The borough manager said council plans to advertise a new engineering services agreement and fee schedule between the borough and Stiffler-McGraw next month.

Council gave Foote authority to advertise a meeting schedule for the new year, beginning with a reorganization meeting on Jan. 6. Otherwise, meetings will continue to be on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. That normally would include a meeting on Dec. 17. Council did not cancel that meeting, but Foote could advertise such a cancellation if there is no emergency or other reason to conduct business that night.

Otherwise, Tuesday’s meeting was the last one for two outgoing councilors, Jonathan Southard from the Third Ward and Dave Coker from the Fourth Ward. Neither sought election to new terms in November. Poom Sunhachawi-Taylor was chosen for a four-year term from the Third Ward, while Jonathan Patrick Warnock will join incumbent Kaycee Newell as holders of four-year terms from the Fourth Ward.

Also returning are Sara Steelman and Council President Peter Broad for four years apiece and James McQuown for two years from the First Ward; Benjamin Ford for four years from the Second Ward, and Sara Stewart for two years from the Fourth.

In his report Broad said an organizational meeting will be conducted next spring at Chestnut Ridge for the next solar cooperative. The borough was a partner with the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, Evergreen Conservancy and the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force in the Indiana County Solar Co-op that wrapped up its work at a meeting last month.