9/26 Twp Committee Workshop Takeaway… Blairstown’s broke…

 Just eight members of the public attended to hear the message that we are broke.

Much of the discussion was around what’s to be discussed on Oct. 24 at North Warren Regional High School. The picture painted was grim…

The township’s operational budget has already been cut to the bone and Blairstown’s financial reserve balance will drop another $70,000 by year end. If nothing is done to shore up our town finances we could be “bankrupt in 4 to 5 years.”

The Township is proposing taking out a bond for $1 to $1.2 Million to fix some roads and would apply the revenues from a new $0.055 municipal tax (per $100 property valuation) to pay off the bonds and recharge the plummeting reserves. The resultant municipal tax would generate around $400,000 a year in new revenue for the Township.

When discussing the Open Space tax, we learned that if all open space debts were paid off, there would be about $82,000 left over. The idea was floated to cut the Open Space tax in half in order to offset the proposed creation of the Municipal Tax. A concern was raised that the Open Space tax covers more than open space. It covers history and recreation activities as well, thereby providing resources to the town to cover a range of other expenses. Cut the Open Space tax too much, and you will need to find the resources from somewhere else.

Other conversations ensued about getting Hardwick and Knowlton and other surrounding towns to contribute funds to offset the costs of maintaining the Fire Department and the recreation programs. This is “Old Business” as well, as it has been a point of discussion for many years, but without any real progress.

There was also a fair amount of talk around complex issues such as combining schools, the difficulty of generating tax rateables, and the challenges inherent in growth and development while preserving Blairstown’s rural character.

By the end of the evening, there was a general feeling of “no” in the air. No way. No how. No shot. No can do. Yes, there is a lot on Blairstown’s plate, but it’s clear that Blairstown needs some new energy and innovation to turn the “No’s” into a few “Yes’s.”

Vote “Yes” for Doell and Klein  and a #BetterBlairstown on November 6!

Other Notes on Agenda items…
OLD BUSINESS
1 – Walnut Valley Underground Oil Tank Remediation. No update. STILL OLD BUSINESS
2 – Proposed Amendment to the “Water” Ordinance. TOWN HAS TO GO TO BID FOR REAL COSTS TO FIX. COULD BE AROUND $600,000.
3- Set date for Social Media Seminar. MAYBE FEB 2019?
NEW BUSINESS

1 – Marty’s Reliable Cycle Buck Hill Brews and Views Fall Bike Ride- use of Footbridge Park as starting and ending point and parking for riders. October 29 from 7:30am – 2pm.
APPROVED COOL
2 – Rotary Halloween Parade on Oct 31, 2018 from 4pm-6pm- Main Street to Bridge Street to Stillwater Road. APPROVED GREAT
3 – November 2018 meeting date change from Nov 14 to Nov 7. Cancellation of Dec 26, 2018 meeting. APPROVED OK
4 – Discussion – Oct 24, 2018 Public Forum Meeting Agenda… OH BOY… see you on the 24th

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