First Posted: 10/1/2014

On Sept. 30, the Clarks Summit Borough Council discussed allocating extra funds from last year towards the borough’s debt and capital reserve, and council members had differing opinions regarding how to best utilize the excess money.

Council member Vincent Cruciani told council at the regular September meeting to consider applying $30,000 of $50,000 in excess funds towards the borough’s estimated $972,000 debt.

Cruciani initiated the conversation again at the September work session saying he was “open to suggestions” from council regarding whether the majority of the excess money should be applied to the debt.

Council Vice President Dominic Scott thought council did not need to use as much to pay on the debt because he said, “If you have a mortgage with a low interest rate, to pay it off is foolish.”

Cruciani said he agreed with Scott, but that he wants for tax payers is for, “the property tax rate to be the real tax rate, not the tax rate plus the line item for the debt. When we eliminate the line item for the debt, and I don’t want to raise taxes, but if taxes get raised, they get raised with the real tax rate plus the debt.”

As an alternative to his original $30,000 proposal, Cruciani suggested the borough pay at least a month’s payment, approximately $17,000, towards the debt, and distribute the remainder of funds in the capital reserve.

Council member Herman Johnson said he was in favor of distributing the majority of funds towards eliminating the debt. “I think as an elected official, it is our responsibility to get that line item down as fast as possible,” Johnson said.

However, Scott insisted the borough needs the money for certain expenses, such as a new police vehicle, or to have extra money in case of an emergency. “If something does come up that we need money, then we’ve got it,” he said.

“I understand your point about being more conservative,” Cruciani told Scott, adding he understands also wanting more money available for an emergency.

Cruciani then offered the solution of splitting the money evenly, half towards the debt and half to remain in capital reserves. “I think half and half is a logical approach,” said Cruciani. “It says to the taxpayer we are balancing our priorities.”

Council will vote on allocating the funds between the debt and capital reserve at the regular borough council meeting Oct. 1.

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