No Tax Increase in Franklin; Council Okay with Idea of Mini-Casino

| December 5, 2017

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – For the second consecutive year there will be no tax increase in Franklin after the city council passed the proposed budget at Monday’s monthly meeting.

Taxes in the city are 11.3 mills, and the budget is balanced at $5,193,192.00.

“It’s nice to be able to provide everything at a reasonable price,” Councilman Jim Marshall said.

Mayor Doug Baker said the city is blessed to have a dedicated staff who helped get the budget to where it is.

Some of the key items in the budget include:

  • Public safety items including in-car video system for the police department, the payment on a fire truck, and money set aside for a new truck; and
  • Money to replace sidewalks in the park and to remove tree limbs and trees that are dead from city property.
  • COUNCIL OKAY WITH IDEA OF MINI-CASINO

    The council elected not to pass a resolution that would have prohibited a mini-casino from opening in the city.

    Under Pennsylvania Act 42, municipalities could choose to say that they didn’t want a casino to possibly move into their area.

    “My personal opinion is we stay with it and see where it goes,” Marshall said. “I find it highly unusual that someone would come to Franklin to open a casino, but I would hate to say ‘no’ to their right to do so.”

    The entire council agreed with Marshall.

    “I’m hesitant to close the door (to a casino) without more information,” said Baker, who indicated that he has never been in a casino.

    As one councilman said, there are a lot of people from the Franklin area who drive to either Pittsburgh or Erie to go to the casino.

    CAMPBELL EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT FLOODING

    Russ Campbell, who spent most of his working life as an engineering technician dealing with flood areas, expressed his concern to the council about the lack of upkeep of flood-control measures in the county that could negatively impact the city.

    Campbell, who was working in Clarion County during the June flood of 1981, said that the city will need help from the county as well as Sandy Creek and French Creek Townships.

    According to Campbell, there is a retention basin at the airport that is not in working order and needs to be updated and that residents in both Sandy Creek and French Creek Townships threw leaves and grass and branches (trash as he called it) down over the hillside.

    Campbell believes that when the water reaches the 15th Street conduit the end result would be the conduit not being able to handle a large storm and 15th Street being washed out. He also believes the 15th Street conduit should be inspected.

    He said the flood that hit in 1981 was considered to be a 70-year frequency storm and that we are already 36 years into that, and another could happen sooner than 70 years.

    “We can do something now that could prevent a major catastrophe like happened in 1981,” Campbell said. “You could spend $10,000.00 now to save hundreds of thousands of dollars later.”

    Campbell told the council if any of them wanted to talk to him about the issue in more depth he was available.

    OTHER BUSINESS

    In other business the council:

  • Approved a sign in the doorway of the Liberty building for Franklin Chirotherapy;
  • Heard the audit report from 2016 from Joy Strain of McGill, Power, Bell & Associates that said that city had $5,137,310.00 in the general fund with $6.2 million in actual expenses that year;
  • Awarded a bid for $77,600.00 to JM Clark Construction for the Miller-Sibley Bathhouse improvement project;
  • Authorized the acceptance of a bid for $99,758.55 to be paid from the liquid fuel funds to Suit-Kote for the Slurry Seal Treatment project;
  • Gave approval for a pair of transfers in projects from the 2015 CDBG money. One was for $10,800.00 and would be moved from the Third Ward street paving to Pearl Street paving and the second is for $9,000.00 and would be moved from the Third Ward street paving to the Miller-Sibley Bathhouse project;
  • Authorized free, two-hour parking on Liberty Street from 11th Street and 14th Street and the installation of a parking kiosk in Lot C along Elk Street;
  • Was told by Jamieson that the city would be meeting with Tri-County Industries about the garbage and recycling carts (cans) and that there would be offers of cycling carts to city residents as well. Carts are on display at the city building; and
  • Was informed by Jamieson that the meter enforcement officer is busy explaining the new parking kiosks to city residents and businesses and that he has shown 181 people how to use the new kiosks and that 277 transactions have been recorded at the kiosk including 95 since December 1.
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