TOWANDA - At its meeting this week, the Towanda Borough Council approved a 5-cent increase in the price of Towanda Borough trash stickers, and also appointed a new secretary/treasurer for the borough.

The increase, which raises the cost of a trash sticker to $2.65, is the first increase in the stickers' price in two years, Towanda Borough Manager Tom Fairchild Jr. said.

Borough residents must affix the stickers to their trash bags to have them picked up at curbside.

The Northern Tier Solid Waste Authority, which is the borough's trash hauler, had requested a 10-cent increase in the price of the trash stickers "due to an increase in its tipping fee" at the West Burlington landfill, which was raised from $45 per ton to $46.50 per ton, Fairchild said. However, according to a formula in the borough's contract with NTSWA, the increase in the stickers' price should only be five cents, Fairchild said at the meeting.

The five-cent increase will go into effect May 1, 2013, he said.

The increase was approved unanimously by the council on Monday.

In an interview on Tuesday, Scot Sample, executive director of NTSWA, said NTSWA will accept the 5-cent increase.

"We're happy with the increase," he said. "Any increase will help us meet the rising cost of our operations."

NTSWA is facing increased expenses for wages, fuel, and health insurance, Sample said.

The price increase only applies to Towanda Borough, Sample said.

Based on the terms of the borough's contract with NTSWA, the borough would not have been able to block the 5-cent increase, Fairchild said after the meeting.

Fairchild pointed out at the meeting that the revenue from the sale of the trash stickers provides other benefits to the borough. For example, NTSWA provides free recycling for borough residents, empties the 25 trash cans on Main Street, removes trash from borough properties, and provides a spring cleanup for the borough. In addition, some of the revenue from the sale of the trash stickers comes back to the borough to help it pay for some of the costs of operating the borough, Fairchild said.

"I think it's a great deal," he said.

In a unanimous vote, the council also formally appointed Diane Kulick of Wysox to be the borough secretary/treasurer. Kulick replace Martha Rajaei, who has resigned to take a job at Rutgers University in New Jersey after working for the borough for less than three months.

Kulick, who began working for the borough on March 18, is "very capable," Fairchild said.

"We're thrilled to have you," Towanda Borough Council President Mark Christini told Kulick. "You've already been doing a great job. I have seen it first-hand."

Fairchild also briefly reported on the search for someone to replace him as borough manager. The field of candidates has been narrowed down to four finalists, who are being interviewed this week, said Fairchild, who is resigning from the borough manager position at the end of May.

The borough has also awarded a contract to Dallas Data Systems Inc. of Pottstown for a new software upgrade for the borough office, Fairchild said. "It should make the office much more efficient," he said.

The council approved Monroeton resident Jamie Heft's request to hold a 5K run on the morning of June 1 in Towanda to raise funds for Adult Congenital Heart Association and the Children's Heart Foundation. The run, which will start on the pedestrian riverwalk along the Merrill Parkway, will not require the shutdown of any streets, as it will be held primarily on sidewalks, Heft said. The staging area for the run will be in the parking lot behind the Bradford County Courthouse.

The council also approved a request to convert $1.75 million in taxable debt that the Martha Lloyd School had issued, into tax-exempt instruments. The Progress Authority is serving as a conduit for the refinancing, which will decrease the amount of interest the school will have to pay on the debt, Fairchild said. The governing bodies of the Authority's four incorporating municipalities, including Towanda Borough, must approve the refinancing. The refinancing does not subject the borough to any financial risk or liability, borough officials said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.