Rice Budget Holds Line On Taxes
Ice Lakes Dam Repair Begins
By REBECCA SODERGREN
Correspondent

At their Dec. 5 meeting, Rice Township supervisors awarded a bid for the Ice Lakes dam repair, passed the proposed 2018 budget with no tax increases, and said farewell to Chair Marcia Thomas, who lost her seat to Carl Smith in the November election.

AR Popple of Wilkes-Barre won the bid of $179,500 to repair the Ice Lakes dam, a project planned and debated for two years. The 100-year-old dam must be partially drained and then repaired according to state Department of Environmental Protection specifications. Work was expected to begin shortly. The clock is ticking because the state Fish and Boat Commission has specified that work must be completed before the spring mating season of the northern cricket frog.

Supervisors also authorized

Secretary Jeff Beck to seek loan funds of $70,000 to cover the higher-than-expected cost of the dam repair. The remainder of the funds will come from grants the township has already won.

The audience clapped for Thomas after Supervisors Bob Pipech and Rick Arnold lauded her service to the township, first as secretary and then as a supervisor.

“You’ve been my mentor all these years,” Pipech said. “We didn’t always agree, but we were always friends.”

“For 40 years, you’ve been synonymous with Rice Township,” Arnold added.

Noting that Thomas was instrumental during a busy year for the township, Pipech read a long list of projects the board had worked on in 2017, including paving and painting lines on roads and parking lots, buying a new mower, installing a new gas tank, acquiring new software and body cameras for the police department, installing new drains along roads and getting the dam repair started.

“We did that without raising taxes,” Thomas noted.

The township’s millage rate for 2018 remains at .26 mills, meaning a property owner would pay $26 in real estate taxes on a $100,000 property. The real estate transfer tax remains at half a percent, and the local services