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Concerns In E. Pete Over Use Of Tax Funds ; Council Asks Da To Examine How Fire Company Used Money.

By Tim Stuhldreher
Proquest LLC

Staff Writer

[email protected]

East Petersburg Borough Council has concerns over the East Petersburg Fire Company's use of borough tax money, and it has asked the county district attorney's office to look into the matter.

The details are unclear, however, as those involved are not talking.

"An investigation will be started, evidently," Council President Cathleen Panus told the Intelligencer Journal/New Era this week.

District Attorney Craig Stedman confirmed that his office had been contacted, but declined to elaborate. Panus declined further comment.

East Petersburg Fire Chief James Rohrer Jr. also declined to comment. Efforts to reach Glenn Garber, the fire company's president, were not successful.

Panus disclosed the action in a written statement she read aloud at the council's May 6 meeting.

After consulting with borough solicitor Michael Davis, the statement said, council decided "to turn over to appropriate authorities" information regarding usage of money from the fire company general fund.

Council is grateful toward and supports the fire company's general membership, and the move is not an action against or indictment of them, the statement said.

A message left with Davis' office was not immediately returned.

The fire company is supported largely by proceeds from a 0.8- mill fire tax levied by the borough. The unit receives about $172,000 a year from the tax, according to newspaper records.

Borough council and the fire company sparred sharply over funding in 2013.

In March of that year, the borough council refused to reimburse the fire company for "certain expense items" until attorneys for both sides reached a firm agreement defining what expenditures would be allowable.

At that time, borough officials declined to say what expenses were in dispute.

In May, the two parties finalized a memorandum of understanding allowing reimbursements to resume.

In it, the borough agrees that the fire company may put $147,000 per year of fire tax revenue toward "normal and customary operating expenses," which must be documented by monthly itemized expense reports.

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Fire tax revenue also may be used to pay for workers' compensation insurance, planned capital expenditures and to remedy "unforeseen emergencies," such as timely repair of essential equipment, the memorandum says.

Correspondent Taylor Bundy contributed to this report.

Copyright:(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.


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