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Williamsport briefs

April 16, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Keeping tax rate same would yield higher revenue

WILLIAMSPORT - The town is considering keeping its property tax rate at 40.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

That rate, or its equivalent under a different system, has been in place for well more than 20 years, town officials have said.

The mayor and town council held a hearing Monday to discuss an 8-percent increase in tax revenue if the current rate remains.

The increase would be the result of higher property values, which the town does not set.

To compensate, the town could lower the tax rate to 37.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, known as the constant yield tax rate. That rate would freeze property tax revenue at its current level.

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The town council did not vote on the tax rate.

Cost of boiler to be split over two years

WILLIAMSPORT - The town will spend $52,027.18 to buy two new cast-iron boilers for Town Hall.

Clerk/Treasurer Donnie Stotelmyer said it might seem like a lot of money, but the town's current boiler is "old and limping along."

He said the savings on energy costs over the next few years will be worth the purchase.

Stotelmyer suggested that the town pay half of the cost this year and half next year.

The town council unanimously agreed to Stotelmyer's recommendation.

Forest service to seek grant for trees

WILLIAMSPORT - The town has 124 trees along its public streets, a state forestry official said Monday.

Becky Wilson of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service said that's low when compared, for example, to Oakland in Garrett County, which has almost 600.

During an "urban forestry" study of the town, forestry officials found more than 200 other public spots where trees could be planted, Wilson said.

"There's a lot of potential in Williamsport to have green corridors," she said.

The study also found that 53 percent of the trees studied were in fair or good condition, but 20 percent should be removed.

The town council agreed to have Wilson apply for a grant on Williamsport's behalf to help add trees.

Pa. firm wins park road project

WILLIAMSPORT - After eliminating two bids, the town council on Monday awarded a contract for a Byron Memorial Park road project.

The contract was given to David H. Martin Excavating Inc. of Chambersburg, Pa., which bid $109,150.

Barrett's Excavating submitted the lowest bid, at $107,465, according to a summary of nine bids. D.L. George & Sons Construction was third, at $109,490.75.

However, the town council on Monday rejected the bids by Barrett's and D.L. George.

Mayor James G. McCleaf II said the bids did not follow instructions - the unit price had to be written out in words, then repeated as numerals, then a total given.

The rejections left David H. Martin Excavating as the lowest bid, followed by Charles E. Brake Co., at $127,187.

Scouts to pass by on bicycle trip

WILLIAMSPORT - A Boy Scout troop from Warren, Ohio, plans to stay briefly in Williamsport again this summer.

The town council on Monday unanimously approved the troop's request to stay in Byron Memorial Park Aug. 11.

An e-mail from a troop representative says the Scouts will be passing through, riding their bikes from Washington, D.C., just as they did in 2004.

Motorcycle event will lack beer garden

WILLIAMSPORT - A family motorcycle event can be held in Williamsport this summer, but without a beer tent, the town council decided Tuesday.

In his proposal, Bruce Logan of Highway Song Leather and Accessories on North Conococheague Street in Williamsport wrote that the July 19 event would include live music, street entertainers, interactive historical displays, vendors, a bike show and a motorcycle ride, possibly for charity.

The plans also included a beer garden near the stage, "very strictly monitored" by police and private security, the proposal says.

Mayor James G. McCleaf II polled council members Monday about the proposal.

Councilman Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. said he was philosophically opposed to the beer garden, but didn't mind the rest.

Other council members agreed that the beer area is a sticking point.

They approved the event without the beer garden.

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