Meshoppen Borough Council voted Monday to approve a budget of $528,890 for 2018.
Broken down, $291,190 will be for the general fund, $147,700 for the sewer, and $90,000 for water.
Taxes remain unchanged at 9.13 mills. Mayor Bruce Marshall pointed out that Meshoppen has not had a tax increase in many years.
Before the budget was approved, council held an executive session concerning salaries.
At the conclusion, on a motion made by Jack Vaow and seconded by Michael Voorhees, council voted to increase the salary of borough secretary Phyllis Adams from $10 to $11 per hour, as well as a two percent pay increase for the borough’s two police officers.
Council reported that the court case involving a lawsuit filed by Samantha Bailey has been mediated, and the decision was that she receive a $40,000 settlement, split between the borough, Tunkhannock Township, and the Wyoming County District Attorney’s office.
In the lawsuit, Bailey claimed that Wyoming County District Attorney Jeffrey Mitchell and Tunkhannock Township police officer John Zdaniewicz persisted in filing charges even though she qualified for immunity under the Drug Overdose Immunity Act. Before filing the charges, Zdaniewicz discussed the matter with Mitchell and Meshoppen Police Chief John Kreig. Zdaniewicz charged Bailey with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia on Jan. 12, 2016. The charges were later dropped on Sept. 6, 2016.
Bailey contended the charges required her to incur unnecessary legal expenses and infringed upon her freedom because she was required to be evaluated for drug addiction and undergo drug tests as a condition of her bail while she awaited trial.
Council President John Bunnell reported Monday that the borough’s insurance will pay its part of the settlement, less a $2,500 deductible. Council voted to pay the $2,500 out of borough funds.
Bunnell also read a letter from Lisa Hahn of the Wyoming County Housing Authority, in which she informed the borough the authority is in the process of securing $14,000 Community Development Block Grant for an engineering study concerning a blighted property adjacent to the Meshoppen Library.
The property, formerly a pizza restaurant, is now vacant. Council has previously looked into tearing down the building. Bunnell reported that although the borough had previously received a bid for $44,000 for the project - which it was prepared to pay - it could not obtain the necessary additional funds to perform an engineering and a historical study of the property, as required by law.
Hahn also informed the council in her letter that she will be presenting the application for the $14,000 at the next Wyoming County Commissioners meeting. Council member Bruce Priestner, who has previously worked extensively on obtaining money for the project, said he does not believe $14,000 will be enough to cover the cost of hiring an engineer.
Council voted to turn down a request from Larry Lechteitner to increase his compensation for reading the water meters in the borough from $100 to $150 a month. Instead, the vote also included that council member Michael Voorhees will now perform the task for $100 a month.
It was reported that past due accounts for the borough’s sewer bills now total $36,000, and water bills $34,000.
Council also voted to reject two bids for the sale of 2011 Dodge Charger being used as a police cruiser. The bids - $1,868 and $1,500 - were deemed too low because the vehicle has a totally rebuilt engine and the body is in good shape.
Council also reported that it will hold its reorganization meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 p.m.