Photo by Ted Lutz â€“ Leo Geibel, adjutant and trustee for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kane, rises to speak Wednesday at a meeting of the Kane Borough Council. Geibel said the VFW is planning to place a memorial stone in Evergreen Park to honor Staff Sgt. Ken VanGiesen, a Kane native who was killed last July while serving in Afghanistan with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Acting on the same day the county-borough tax bills arrived in the mail, the Kane Borough Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to adopt a "final" 2012 budget that carries a 1.5-mill increase in borough property taxes.
Council President Howard Kane joined with Councilwomen Janet Bard and Holly Harris and Councilmen Dennis Drost and Bill Tunall to endorse a "revised" tentative budget adopted last month.
Councilman John Gentilman did not attend the meeting, but has previously cast ballots against any tax hike.
The original proposed budget adopted in December called for a 3-mill tax increase. However, this rate reportedly was based on incorrect property valuation figures. Council re-opened budget deliberations last month and approved the "revised" tentative budget. Using corrected data, the tax hike was trimmed to 1.5 mills.
This means the owner of property assessed at $50,000 will pay about $75 more in borough taxes this year.
Although the tax increase is less than originally announced, many in a standing-room-only crowd of more than 20 believe council could do better by cutting costs.
"You have to start running the town like a business," Mick Petruney told council. "People here are living from paycheck to paycheck. There are no jobs in Kane. You have to start cutting somewhere."
Commenting after the meeting, Bard said "I don't know what else to cut."
She is the chairman of council's Finance Committee.
Kane said the "only way" council would be able to keep from raising taxes is to "cut services." He said he doubts whether most residents want to see their streets left unplowed after a snowstorm.
Petruney was one of several residents who met with council members last month to go over the "revised" budget.
But he said the meeting was "a mute point" because the borough already had notified the county assessment office that it was going with a 1.5-mill tax increase in its final budget.
Petruney said council could have waited until Feb. 15 to let the county know its final tax rate for the 2012 county-borough tax bills that most Kane residents received by mail Wednesday.
See full article by purchasing the Feb. 2 edition of The Kane Republican.