The Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority (GARA) is here to stay. At its meeting on Monday, the Gettysburg Borough Council unanimously approved a 25-year lease of the Gettysburg Rec Park between the borough and GARA.
The Borough of Gettysburg and Cumberland Township formed GARA in 2013 as an intermunicipal authority with a primary purpose of managing the rec park. A year later, the borough officially leased the park to the authority at no cost and sold several pieces of equipment to it for $1. The borough and township also financially support GARA’s operations.
GARA’s lease expired this year and Executive Director Erin Peddigree asked for a longer commitment so she can show granting agencies the authority is not in danger of losing its facility.
“It would also be a lot more expensive if we had that as a department ourselves, so I appreciate all that GARA does for that programming and the facility work that they do as well,” said council member Chad Alan-Carr.
Prior to GARA’s existence, the borough managed the rec park. In the mid-2000s, budget talks often centered around the park’s future.
Also on Tuesday, the borough council said goodbye to one employee and one volunteer. Director of Planning, Zoning, and Code Enforcement Carly Marshall resigned her position recently after accepting a job outside of Adams County with the National Park Service. Marshall joined the borough staff in 2019. Prior to that, she worked for the Adams County Planning Department for five years.
Jennie Dillon recently resigned as secretary of the Gettysburg Borough Human Relations Commission due to her business moving out of the borough, Council President Wes Heyser said. Dillon has been a member of the commission since its inception in 2020.
“She is a very valuable member of the community and was very helpful, I believe, in getting this commission up and running,” Heyser said.
The council unanimously appointed Scott Wallace to fill Dillon’s term, which will expire in April of 2027.
The council also unanimously voted to advertise a 2024 budget that keeps the property and occupation tax rates flat but doubles the fire tax. The proposal increases the fire tax from 0.25 to 0.50 mills. The fire tax is given directly to volunteer companies that serve the borough. Carr noted a paid fire service would be much more costly to borough residents.
Gettysburg Borough Manager Charles Gable said previously that borough contributions would double from about $125,000 to about $250,000 annually. Heyser said the addition for the average homeowner would be about $50.
The council is expected to adopt its 2024 budget at its Dec. 11 meeting.
Alex J. Hayes, Editor, has spent almost two decades in the Adams County news business. He is heavily involved in the community through his volunteer roles at the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, United Way of Adams County, and Healthy Adams County. Alex is also a freelance writer for several other publications in South Central Pennsylvania.
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