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From the Desk of Carroll Valley Mayor Ron

(11/11) It is November. Sixty-one days to 2012. The special days of November are: Election Day on Tuesday, November 8th; Daylight Saving Time Ends, Sunday, November 6th; Veterans Day, Friday, November 11th and Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 24th.

As reported last month, the downturn in the economy has had an impact on our 2011 budget. At the time of this writing, the Borough Council held a public workshop meeting with the Finance Committee on October 18th to review the proposed Borough 2012 budget. As explained in the Budget Message prepared by the Borough Manager, one of the Boroughís major revenue sources is the Real Estate Property Tax. Our current 2011 rate is 1.7436 mills, or .0017436 of assessed value of land and buildings. Due to the Adams County Reassessment of 2010, and the subsequent appeals, the equalized tax rate turned out to be less tax revenue than 2010, due to successful appeals to reduce assessment amounts. Although only a slight reduction in assessed values, this fact, coupled with higher rates of delinquency due to nonpayment have caused there to be a significant reduction in tax revenues.

For example, in 2009 the actual collections of Real Estate Tax revenues equaled $795,546.71. In 2011, the same number is projected to equal $733,000, a decrease of $62,546.71. As presented, this reduction is a reoccurring theme in almost all revenue categories. To offset the reductions of other revenue and to maintain the level of services provided to the residents, the draft 2012 budget proposes to increase the Real Estate Tax. The next Borough Council and the Finance Committee Workshop is scheduled for October 25th. Once again the council and finance committee members will review the budget. After this workshop meeting, the draft Budget will be presented to the Borough Council on November 15th. During this meeting the Budget is tentatively adopted and approved for advertisement and made available for public review. Finally, at the December 13th Borough Council meeting, the 2012 Budget and all scheduled ordinances will be formally adopted and approved.

Every year people lose their lives in residential fires. November with the change of weather and coming to the end of the year, may be a good time to test your smoke alarms in your house and replace the batteries. Most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not as a result of burns. It is further reported that deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen at night while the people are asleep. While you are checking the smoke alarms, it might be a good idea to also check and replace the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm. CO is an odorless gas produced when any fuel is incompletely burned. CO poisoning is associated with malfunctioning home fuel-burning heating equipment such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters. Do you have a family fire escape plan? You should. How do you get out of the house? Do the kids know the plan? Do you hold fire drills during the night to see if the children know what to do? The Fairfield Fire and EMS Company 2 has sent out to the residents their letter to request donations. Volunteers operate the fire company. They have responded to over 270 fire and rescue calls. They need your help. Please consider contributing what you can to keep the fire company operating. Also, Kip Hamilton, who is the EMS Captain, informed me that he has updated/redesigned the fire companyís website and should be operational by November 1st. You might want to check it out at www.fairfieldfire-ems.org.

The holiday season is upon us again and many of us will wake up Christmas morning to the joy of finding presents under the tree. However, some children will not have presents to open on Christmas Day. And this is why Toys for Tots was started. The Toys for Tots program is an annual toy drive sponsored by the United States Marine Corp. The goal of this program is to make sure every child has a present on Christmas morning. I am asking you for your support this year. Donation boxes for new unwrapped toys will be placed in all school buildings and local businesses throughout the district.

For Carroll Valley residents, there is a donation box in the borough office. We are also looking for families that are in need, so if you have information about a family that may benefit from the Toys for Tots campaign, please call Bill Echert at (717) 762-5622 or cell phone (717) 830-6912. Confidentiality will be honored. Thank you for your support with this worthwhile project. The distribution date will be Sunday, December 18th at the Fairfield Fire Hall. Distribution will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. Everyone has to be preregistered by Wednesday, December 14th by calling Bill Eckert.

At the October Borough Council meeting, I gave a brief on Meganís law because of some inquiries by residents. Here are some of the highlights. Meganís law is an informal name for the United States laws requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. At the federal level it is known as the Sexual Offender Act of 1994. This federal law requires persons convicted of sex crimes against children to notify local law enforcement of any change of address or employment after release from custody. This federal law is implemented in Pennsylvania under the statutory cite 42 Pa.C.S. ß 9701 et seq. A portion of the legislative finding reads "If the public is provided adequate notice and information about sexually violent predators and certain other offenders, the community can develop constructive plans to prepare themselves and their children for the offenderís release". The Pennsylvania State Police, Meganís Law Section, is responsible for maintaining and updating the information on every offender (ß9799). The legislation is very specific about what information may or may not be released. If you are interested in information regarding registered sex offenders in your community, go to the Pennsylvania State Meganís Law Section website www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us or call the PA Meganís Law Section at (866) 771-3170. The most current information is kept at the PA Meganís Law Section.

Borough meetings to be held in November are: Planning Commission (Nov 7th), Council Borough (Nov 15th), Parks/Recreation (Nov 16th). The Borough Office will be closed Election Day (Nov 8th); Veterans Day (Nov 11th) Thanksgiving (Nov 24th and Nov 25th). Please reduce your speed and make sure you, your loved ones, your friends and neighbors will be able to enjoy the holiday season. If you have any questions call me at (301) 606-2021 or email at mayor@carrollvalley.org. Happy Thanksgiving!

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