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Fairfield area news-briefs

Danielle Ryan

(3/1) Hamiltonban Township raises taxes

Hamiltonban Township’s $779,635.00 budget included a tax increase by one quarter of one percent (0.25 mills) for a general millage rate of 1.4859. The tax increase would mean approximately $50 additionally each resident would pay every year. As Supervisor Chairman Bob Gordon noted, Hamiltonban Township hasn’t increased taxes in twelve years. This increase would provide approximately $61,000 more to the Township’s budget, which would be used to help pay for some of the projects this year.

Projects in the works for this year include the Hickory Bridge Road Bridge repair, of which Hamiltonban Township will pay half (approximately $50,000) towards the construction; radio upgrades for all trucks to be compatible with the County 911 system at an approximate cost of $12,000 and the refurbishment of the township John Deere tractor which has a new Tiger mower attachment, costing approximately $17,000 for both.

Additionally, Hamiltonban Township also approved a two percent pay raise for its four full-time employees. This motion is retroactive to the first payroll in January of this year.

Petition sought for Orchard Rd. intersection changes

The intersection of Orchard Rd. and Route 16 has been a major source of vehicular accidents for the past several years. More recently, on February 9, just three weeks after a fatal accident on January 19, which took the life of an eleven-year-old girl, a young man was seriously injured in a car accident involving himself and a tractor-trailer. Residents of Liberty Township are tired of seeing accidents occur at the same location without any intervention from the state to make safety changes.

In 2014, the Township petitioned PennDOT to so something that would help decrease the number of accidents at this intersection. The only outcome was a decrease in the speed limit along Route 16 from 55 mph to 50 mph. After the more recent accidents, residents and Township officials decided to once again petition the state to construct a turning lane on Route 16. After being run through the gambit of state road officials, including the traffic division of PennDOT, Liberty Township Supervisor Mickey Barlow was told that PennDOT "cant help you with that situation, that’s a township road issue," and there isn’t much more to be done on their end. Seeing this as an unacceptable answer, petitions and information were sent to State Senators and Representatives in hopes of raising more awareness for this issue.

Carroll Valley considers Tree City USA status

The Carroll Valley Borough Council voted to advertise an ordinance that would establish a tree board and amend their current tree ordinance during their February meeting. The unofficial tree board, headed by Carroll Valley resident Lori Kolenda, has been researching the requirements and benefits of becoming a Tree City USA community. Four requirements must be met in order to do become certified: the establishment of a Tree Board or Department, the establishment and implementation of a Tree Care Ordinance, the establishment of a Community Forestry Program with an Annual Budget of at least two dollars Per Capita, and an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation. During the meeting, Council voted to make a move on two of these requirements: establishing an official tree board and making amendments to an already existing ordinance regarding tree care in the Borough.

Kolenda noted that having the Tree City USA status could provide the borough more opportunities to receive funding for future projects and it is also a great way to get more residents actively involved in the community. The Tree Board, as proposed, would consist of five members appointed by the Council. The tree ordinance amendments outline appropriate distances and clearances for planting trees, public tree care, and tree species allowable.

Council seemed on board with the idea of becoming a Tree City USA community, but asked staff to amend the tree ordinance to specify which sections apply to home owners and which apply to the borough. This should provide more clarity to the ordinance, which will be advertised for official vote during the March meeting.

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