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‘No fat Left to cut’ in 2013 Emmaus Budget

Budget and finance chair Brian Holtzhafer describes the 2013 Emmaus Budget as the 'toughest' he has ever worked on.

Emmaus Borough Council has put together a lean and mean budget for 2013 by all accounts and has pulled off nothing short of a miracle – taxes will not go up, no services will be cut and the 2013 budget is coming in at $34,000 less than the 2012 budget.

“The department heads have been fantastic,” Budget and Finance Chair Brian Holtzhafer said at Monday night’s council meeting. “This is by far the toughest budget I have worked on.

“We did not cut services and no one has had to lose a job over this. But, there was no fat left to cut. We had to make some cuts that I wasn’t happy with, but they had to be made to keep a balanced budget.” he said.

Some of the cuts included in the proposed 2013 budget include:

  • Elimination of the paid overnight standby for volunteer firefighters. The move is expected to save upward of $50,000.
  • Elimination of a $5,000 accident and sickness insurance policy for the fire department. Everything covered in the policy is also covered by workers' compensation, according to Borough Manager Shane Pepe.
  • Removal of the Gamewell System of fire call boxes from telephone poles in the borough. Holtzhafer described the system as outdated in a day and age when most people understand the process of dialing 911 in an emergency and the majority of people carry cell phones. About six call boxes will remain in borough businesses, as the businesses are paying a fee to have them, which generates revenue for the borough. The borough will look to sell the remaining 40 or so boxes as a novelty or collectible item, according to Holtzhafer, who says they may earn the borough about $100 apiece.

In addition, council agreed to explore the possibility of selling a 16-acre borough property on S. 2nd Street across from Unami Rod and Gun Club. Council also authorized Pepe to look into the value of timbering the property.

Councilmen Wesley Barret and Brent Labenberg and Mayor Winfield Iobst all expressed opposition to the timbering idea.

Plus, council will gather information about the possible sale of a 53-space parking lot in the 500 block of Jubilee Street. Research will also be done into the viability of individually renting parking spaces in the lot.

Council passed the proposed 2013 budget by a 6-0 vote Monday night. The budget is scheduled for a final vote Dec. 17.

Taxpayers can review the proposed 2013 budget between now and then in Emmaus Borough Hall.

Councilman Nathan Brown was absent from Monday night’s meeting.

ron December 06, 2012 at 04:40 PM
"We did not cut services and no one has had to lose a job over this" But we are eliminating the paid overnight standby for firefighters. Wow sounds like a loss of services and jobs to me ! After reading this artical i had to laugh and then i had to come to one of three conclusions. 1. Council misspoke. 2. Council is stupid. 3. Council thinks the people of Emmaus are stupid.
Andy December 06, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I am a retired firefighter from a large city. These men and women do the same job I did for a lot less money and are very professional when they do it. They do the same as a big city. Ron ur conclusions are right on.
Jeff December 06, 2012 at 07:34 PM
When was the last time the firefighters got a raise? But council is going to take a raise!
sarah December 07, 2012 at 02:13 AM
If it's money the borough want to save, they could completely cut the paid fire protection. However, instead of priding themselves of "saving" money, provide their citizens with value. The value of having 24/7 fire protection, which saves lifes and property. Having a paid fire dept makes my family safer, you can't put a price on that!
Jeff December 07, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Sarah u are correct. But council wants the money so they can get their raise
Curious December 09, 2012 at 03:02 AM
How is it a volunteer dept if they are getting paid?
Reader December 09, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I never saw any of the firefighters worry about the budget when they were driving around burning up fuel looking for a place to eat. Then get a call and have to drive back to pay for that meal. Why don't you pack a lunch like the rest of work force dose everyday to save money?
Member December 09, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Reader, I guess the ambulance at the diner every weekend for breakfast doesn't matter. They r making twice as much as the firefighters. And they run more calls out of town than in town. What do u have to say about that.
Member December 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Three ambulances but can only get one out. Macungie and cetronia have said they would put a unit in town and not cost the taxpayers a dime.
ellen December 09, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Is it okay for borough management to drive taxpayers vehicles to their residents outside of township? If emmaus is gonna be a nice small town you want everything to stay in town not out sourse to other townships like Cetronia & Macungie. Do you really think Centronia & Macungie are going to put a unit in town for free?
John Doe December 09, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I guess no one wants to hear about the police department being parked at 7-11 at 2 in the morning, and every officer at that. Nor does anyone want to hear about the ambulance being parked at superior every morning while its running, sucking up fuel. Lets stop bashing the fire department.
resident December 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Ellen I agree about the vehicles. Yes they would for free. The fire dept has the smallest budget and took the biggest hit. What it comes down to is that the council is lying to the taxpayers. They said no services got cut or nobody lost their job. The fire dept did
Some Person December 09, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Hey Reader, Guess the on duty firefighters, half of them out of towners, spending money at Emmaus eateries for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week is bad thing. Like for you to tell that to those Emmaus business owners.
ellen December 09, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Did anyone hear the during the last storm some Borough Council members purchased generators using borough tax free code?
boro can-man December 09, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Pathetic. Its all about the money for the borough council and managers. Wish they were more like the members of the emmaus fd, who very proudly serve their community.
resident December 09, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Yeah and during Irene, the fire dept was at a council members house for like 10 hours pumping out their basement that was up to the floor joist
boro can-man December 09, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Really!?!, your gunna bash these guys like this!?.. They protect you your family your home YOUR TOWN. Do you realize the stuff they go through sometimes. Id love to see the boro council members do half of what they do. They dont get paid enough for what they do. And now they might not be getting paid.
boro can-man December 09, 2012 at 09:52 PM
They just wanna go out and enjoy them selfs while they can. Whats wrong with that!!?!!
Reality Check December 09, 2012 at 10:05 PM
vol·un·teer /ˌvälənˈti(ə)r/ Noun A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
ellen December 09, 2012 at 10:54 PM
A volunteer fire department (VFD) is a fire department composed of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction. The first large organized force of firefighters was the Corps of Vigiles, established in ancient Rome in 6 AD. The term "volunteer" contrasts with career firefighters who are fully compensated for their services. Some volunteer firefighters may be part of a combination fire department that utilizes both full-time and volunteer firefighters. In this way, a station can be regularly staffed for rapid response with apparatus, and the volunteers provide supplementary staffing and staffed apparatus before, during, and after an incident, or while the full-time career staff are out of service doing training. The term "volunteer" may also be used in reference to a group of part-time or on-call firefighters who may have other occupations when not engaged in occasional firefighting. Although they may have "volunteered" to become members, and to respond to the call for help, they are compensated as employees during the time they are responding to or attending an emergency scene, and possibly for training. An on-call firefighter may also volunteer time for other non-emergency duties as well (training, fundraising, equipment maintenance, etc.).
Random December 10, 2012 at 02:10 AM
What cuts did the police dept or ambulance take? Fire dept is just as important as the two of them.
Cocerned Citzen December 10, 2012 at 04:51 PM
They make a % of those boxes every year. Once they sell them for $100.00 a box(wow) once and done. They won't have that income anymore!!!!
Fuel Burner December 11, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I guess I'm just a fuel burner:( I risk my life running into burning buildings to save lives and property but I'm noted as being a fuel burner? I carry around 80 pounds of equipment to cut a victim out of their vehicle but I'm noted as being a fuel burner? I search the floor above, knees burning, trying to find victims but I'm noted as being a fuel burner? Just remember, these guys and gals would still put their lives on the line to save yours. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ww1SwE9Ks
Resident December 11, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Want some truth? Here is some truth. They say no one lost their job? The EFD is made up of Fire Fighters from the borough and also "Out of towners" With out these out of towners they are made up of about 15 in towners. Do you think these out of towners will respond from as far away as lehigh township to respond to a call? I think NOT! So the FD will be losing manpower! And those out of towners will have lost there job. So what does this mean to me as a resident? First. No paid crews nights and weekends- This means it will now take 10-15 mins for some one to respond if I have an emergency at my residence. Fire doubles in size every 30 seconds! So think about it. Paid crews arrive in about 3-4 mins. Lets think about some other things the FD does. Car wrecks. When some one is in a serious wreck they say that there is a golden hr. Meaning from the time the wreck happened to the time you should be in the hospital is 1 hr. Again paid crews 3-5 mins to go on scene or not paid crews 10-15 mins already gone by. Pump outs. Who comes running when your basement is flooding, Trees down from storms. NOT COUNCIL!
Resident December 11, 2012 at 03:29 AM
The point is they do much more than just fight fires. And they do NOT bill for their services. Your tax dollars and some other sources is all they get. Not like a Ambulance. They get your tax money and they still bill! I came to this borough because of their fire service. Now council is cutting it ?So where is our tax money really going? I think it is about time we find out! If you are a resident of this borough and agree we need not cut our fire service. Please come out next Monday at 7:00pm Town Hall for council meeting and show your support for our Very professional and hard working FIRE FIGHTERS!
boro can-man December 11, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Id love to see the borough council members do a fraction of what the brave men and women of emmaus fire dept do!! They cant. But they can take their jobs away. How stupid is that?!?!.
boro can-man December 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Beth they go off a few times a month. They are for more protectection for the boro though. How often does your smoke alarm go off in your house? Probably not alot, but its there if its needed.
Emmaus Public Servant December 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Instead of whining about how you feel about the Emergency Services, why don't you as the Citizen research and learn about the services, and how they really work. Talk to the Public Servants. Go to the council meetings. This is our responsibility as Citizen/Taxpayers.
resident December 13, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Council thinks we should do it for free since they coach sports for free. What training to you need to coach? How about a minimum of 250 hours minimum to be a firefighter!
Robert Schwoyer December 15, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Yes you will still have protection. But it will be delayed!! Our response time for a call now in the borough is like 3-4 mins. With out the paid crew on it will be like 10-15. Which means if there is a fire property loss will be much greater!!

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