DUBOIS – The Sandy Township Supervisors have approved the township’s 2022 budget with no tax increase.
Township Manager Shawn Arbaugh reported Monday night that there were no public comments received regarding the budget.
Supervisor Jim Jeffers said he personally was “disappointed” the budget was passed “as-is.” Jeffers was absent from a previous board meeting but provided the board with a budget request.
He asked the township to consider the elimination of a one-mill tax that was imposed to finance upgrades to or for construction of a new Sandy Township Municipal Building.
The supervisors voted to impose the one-mill tax in 2019 after talks of a joint Sandy Township-DuBois City Municipal Building fell through.
On Monday night, Jeffers said the one-mill tax was imposed to finance the municipal building project, and if that wasn’t going to occur, it should be eliminated.
However, Supervisor Kevin Salandra said the tax wasn’t just for costs to construct a new municipal building. He said Supervisor-elect Barry Abbott had suggested an alternative use of the funds.
Further, Salandra said Abbott had suggested the township construct a fire station near Treasure Lake along Old 255 Road that would cover the Treasure Lake and Sabula areas.
But the supervisors disagreed with the fire station project in light of the future consolidation of DuBois City and Sandy Township into one municipality.
Salandra also opposed for now as it would result in a long-term budget item for the township that would also affect the consolidated city.
“We are going to consolidate,” Salandra said, “and I don’t think we should burden the future budget with something we decide unilaterally.”
Supervisor Mark Sullivan agreed, adding it’s yet to be determined how many fire stations will even operate within the new municipality.
The first Pennsylvania Economic League report indicated three fire stations could cover Sandy and DuBois post-consolidation. Currently, the area (combined) is covered by nine stations.
There is also uncertainty how the consolidated city will restructure, what changes will occur, fire coverage, etc. “And I don’t want to tie their hands,” Sullivan said.
Supervisor Bill Beers stressed that it would be best to do things once and efficiently, and with consolidation in the works, there would be more than one building in need of work.
He said the consolidated police department would likely need a new building and any construction of a fire station would necessitate consideration of other things, such as apparatus.
“I want to do it efficiently,” Beers said, “and we’re also going to have to do other things to other buildings.”
The first consolidation meeting will occur at 6 p.m. Jan. 12 at the DuBois City Municipal Building.