Oxford Borough close to finalizing 2015 budget
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough’s budget for 2015 is expected to be approved at the Monday, Dec. 15 meeting so on Monday night Oxford Borough Council held its final discussions about the $3.6 million spending plan.
Council member Gary Tozzo, who serves on the borough’s Finance Committee, said that some of the numbers are still changing as exact costs for some expenses are still coming on. It still appears likely that the budget will be balanced without a tax increase, and the millage rate will remain at 12 mills.
The borough is projecting a year-to-year increase in revenues, thanks in part to the expansion at Ware Presbyterian Village, which is adding approximately $90,000 to the borough’s coffers.
On the expenditure side, spending will increase slightly from 2014 to 2015. This is due primarily to the increases in salaries for contracted employees and the impact of inflation on some of the goods and services that the borough relies on. There was also an increase in workman’s compensation costs. The borough received some good financial news when the health care premiums came in lower than what was expected.
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, borough council had a lengthy discussion about its sidewalk ordinance and ultimately referred the issue to the Codes Department for further review. The borough has an ordinance in place that requires sidewalks to be installed so that the borough is a walkable community that is safe for pedestrians. However, the sidewalk ordinance is not always enforced, especially on properties that don’t have existing uniform sidewalks in the area. There was a sentiment among some council members that the sidewalk ordinance, whether it is eventually reworked or not, needs to be uniformly enforced throughout the town.
The borough council agreed to contribute $4,500 to the Oxford Public Library for the installment of a crosswalk across Second Street to allow pedestrians to safely cross the street to the library while construction work is taking place over the next year.
The borough is looking to set up a drop box at borough hall for tattered or torn or otherwise worn American flags so that they can be disposed of properly with a ceremony at a later time.
The borough council approved the reappointment of Jim McLeod and Etha McDowell to the borough’s Civil Service Commission from 2015 through 2020.
Council reappointed three people—Tyler Harold, Kenneth Sapp, and Denise Stevenson—to the Zoning Hearing Board. Each appointment is for a term extending from 2015 to 2019.
John Schaible was reappointed to serve on the Oxford Area Sewer Authority Board from 2015 to 2019.
Council also accepted the resignation of Tozzo and Robert Roper from the borough’s planning commission. The borough is currently seeking to fill both vacancies.
Borough officials are working in cooperation with the Oxford Rotary Club to put some special needs playground equipment in the Oxford Memorial Park.
Borough manager Betsy Brantner said that contributions for the effort can now be sent to the attention of the Oxford Rotary Club at P.O. Box 27, Oxford, PA 19363.
Council member Paul Matthews, who spearheaded this initiative, said that he expects the groundbreaking on the project to take place in the spring of 2015.
Buzz Tyson, the executive director of the Lighthouse Youth Center, announced that they will holding the first open house in the new building on Jan. 25 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.