North Huntingdon taxes cut by a mill for 2013

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North Huntingdon commissioners have passed an $11,494,482 budget for 2013 that reduces real estate taxes by 1 mill.

The budget was unanimously approved during a meeting last week.

Township real estate taxes in 2013 will be 9.23 mills, 1 mill less than the 2012 tax rate of 10.23.

"I like the tax decrease," commissioners' President Lee Moffatt said.

Commissioner Rich Gray said in October that lowering township real estate taxes from 10.23 mills to 9.23 mills would reduce real estate taxes paid to the township by $351,906 next year.

He explained then why the commissioners want to lower taxes.

"For a number of years, we've been taking in more money than we've been spending," he said. "Our unencumbered reserve has grown significantly because of all the development."

"We want to stop taking from the taxpayer if we don't need it, basically," he said.

Manager John Shepherd said last week that the township's reserve earlier this year was $7 million. Township officials won't know the current amount in the reserve until January, after this year's budget has been closed out, he said.

Mr. Moffatt said last week the commissioners need to decide how much to take down the reserve in 2013.

The township might be able to do a project to help ease flooding in Jacktown Acres in 2013, and might be able to address a problem along Pine Hollow Road, he said.

Mr. Shepherd said the commissioners are considering building a storm water detention pond in Lions Park to help ease flooding in Jacktown Acres.

Also at the meeting, commissioners reported that Rich Albert, director of public works, has said a dangerous slide has developed on Pine Hollow Road that he cannot fix.

Commissioners voted to have Ackenheil Engineers of Pittsburgh do a soil study for $35,000 to determine what to do with the slide area.

Mr. Shepherd said based on the engineers' recommendations, the township might only need to build a retaining wall, or might wind up moving Pine Hollow Road back from the hillside.

The project could be inexpensive, or could cost as much as $500,000, he said.

neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer:


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