EXETER – Facing a serious budget shortfall, borough council on Tuesday night agreed to apply to the Pennsylvania Governor's Center for Local Government Services' Early Intervention Program.
Council member Larry Dellegrotto reminded the public of the borough's difficult financial situation during Tuesday's regular council meeting.
The borough's general fund is at $14,000 while its outstanding bills currently add up to $151,000. After these numbers were shared, Dellegrotto reiterated his statement from July's council meeting at which he stressed the seriousness of the municipal debt.
Council unanimously voted to seek the intervention program in an attempt to address Exeter's need to raise revenue and reduce spending.
The purpose of the program is to prevent a local government from entering distressed status. The program could potentially fund some or all of the expenses involved in hiring a qualified financial consultant to help the borough establish feasible multiyear plans to address debt.
Although the borough is able to make payroll, and bills are paid when the money is available, Dellegrotto acknowledged the very real possibility the borough may have to cut services in the near future to reduce its deficit.
In another matter, council passed the completely symbolic motion to voice its concerns about the possible establishment of a natural gas compressor station in nearby West Wyoming.
Opposition to the natural gas drilling industry has been consistently expressed in Exeter over the past several years. Even when the contentious debate over a possible Wal-Mart in the borough seemed to split the town, both sides tended to come to an agreement in voicing their intentions to prevent gas industry involvement within the borough or any of the adjoining municipalities.
Resident Nancy Dolan of the Luzerne County Citizens for Clean Air even utilized council chambers for presentations on the potential for natural gas drilling and transport-related pollution.
The next regular meeting of Exeter Council will be Tuesday Sept. 4, at 7 p.m.