Mt. Jewett budget plan calls for full-time cop

MT. JEWETT – The tentative 2012 budget for Mt. Jewett calls for a one-mill increase in the tax rate to help pay for a full-time police officer.The Mt. Jewett Borough Council voted 6-0 Monday to endorse the proposed spending plan. Council President Chuck Paar joined with Councilwoman Linda Berry and Councilmen Chip Lannen, Brett Morgan, Wil Antrim and Don Martyna to approve the tentative budget. Councilmen John Keesee did not attend the meeting.Under the budget proposal, Police Officer Steve Hale will move to full-time status and will work 40 hours per week. He and Matt Guthrie, another part-time police officer in Mt. Jewett, now are limited to a combined total of 30 hours per week.Hale's hourly pay will rise from $12.53 per hour to $15 per hour. Hale currently also works as a part-time policeman in Kane.Paar said council decided to elevate the position of police officer to full-time based on the need for more traffic and speed control in the borough. He pointed out that borough residents last month filed petitions with council to ask for more police protection."I wish we could have police on duty even more than 40 hours a week," Paar said. He said the borough will continue to use Guthrie on a part-time basis "as needed."Hale, who has worked as a police officer in Mt. Jewett for about 13 months, said he is looking forward to working more hours in the borough.The proposed new tax rate in Mt. Jewett will climb to 7.75 mills.Paar said the property tax increase is the first in Mt. Jewett in six years.The proposed budget now is available for public inspection at the borough office along Center Street.Council is expected to adopt the final 2012 budget when it meets in special session at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18 at the borough building. The meeting is open to the public.Antrim, chairman of council's Finance Committee, said "things are really tight" in the proposed spending plan for 2012. He said council will need to "keep a close eye on the budget" during the coming year.In other business at the 70-minute meeting in the garage at the borough building, council:See full article by purchasing the Dec. 6 edition of The Kane Republican.