Emmaus Borough Council voted this morning, 4-3, to increase taxes to fund the 2013 budget. The vote came after firefighters and residents turned out at last week’s council meeting to object to a plan to eliminate overnight staffing of the borough’s fire station.
Council had planned to save money by having firefighters respond from home rather than directly from the fire station. Fire officials estimated the strategy could increase their average response time from 1 or 2 minutes to 10 minutes. After hearing the objections, council voted last Monday to put $80,000 back into the budget in order to continue overnight staffing.
Today’s vote increases the property tax rate by 1/8th of a mill from 4.2 to 4.325 mills in order to pay for the program. Voting for the increase were Council President Lee Ann Gilbert, Jeff Shubzda, Dr. Mike Waddell, and Brian Holtzhafer. Voting against were Nathan Brown, Wesley Barrett, and Brent Labenberg.