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(8/2011) The realities of trying to stretch the current and expected revenues for the Borough of Carroll Valley brought up in a number of issues that the Carroll Valley Borough Council had to address during its monthly meeting on July 12.

Cardinal Trail will be repaired

All but two of the homeowners along Cardinal Trail showed up at the council meeting to find out why their road had not been repaired since it was damaged during the borough’s April 16 flooding.

Resident Debbie Jones, speaking on behalf of the residents, said that the road closure is causing a number of safety concerns. Fire and EMS equipment will have trouble reaching homes on the trail. Because school buses can’t travel on the trail, there is also concern about having children walk to the end of the road before they can be picked up.

Repairs to Cardinal Trail for flood damage are estimated to cost around $42,000. It is part of about $150,000 in flood damage costs that the council must find a way to pay for.

"We recognize the need to fix the road and we just don’t have the money," Council President Jon Van Volkenburgh.

"We look at Cardinal Trail as being the priority thing we have to do and we’ll get it done as soon as possible," said Councilman Ken Lundberg.

Borough Manager Dave Hazlett told the council he is seeking a more-detailed estimate that will come in lower than the rough estimate the borough used when applying for aid from FEMA.

"The delay to this point was we were really hoping for federal money," Hazlett said.

Because other areas either did not receive as much flood damage or did not apply for disaster funds, the region’s total aid request did not reach the threshold required by the federal government.

Borough is $88,000 in the hole

Councilman Bill Reinke gave the council a mid-year update on the borough’s budget.

"What was a balanced budget in January is $88,000 in the red now," Reinke said.

In addition, the borough goes into each new calendar year with leftover funds from the previous year’s budget. This is needed to run the borough until the new year’s revenues begin coming in. Currently, the borough has only half of the needed cushion.

In order to save some money, the Borough Finance Committee recommended that Creek View Trail, which was also damaged during April’s flooding, was estimated to cost around $34,000 to repair. However, if the trail was left as a gravel road, the costs of repair would be significantly reduced and the trail could be reopened. The trail can then be given a better surface at a later time when the funds exist.

The council agreed to this recommendation, but they were more divided over a second recommendation to re-explore selling off borough-owned properties to make up for revenue shortfalls.

Lundberg said, "It will be several years before those lots are attractive to anyone."

Police staffing in jeopardy

The Carroll Valley Police Department needs $12,500 currently in order to continue its current staffing levels. This would allow the department to continue funding half of a full-time equivalent position.

The council decided that, given the borough’s current funding needs, it would be impossible to come up with the needed money. Van Volkenburgh said that the borough might be able to come up with $9,000 but $88,000 would need to be found first in order to make up the borough’s current operating deficit. The council directed Hazlett to look over the borough budget and see if the funds could be found.

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