North Huntingdon to reduce reserve fund

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The North Huntingdon commissioners have approved a policy that eventually will reduce the township's general fund reserve to about 25 percent of its yearly budget.

At the beginning of 2012, North Huntingdon had about $6.5 million in its general fund reserve, commissioners President Lee Moffatt said. The 2013 budget totals $11.49 million.

The reserve is made up of money left over after the township has paid its bills each year.

Since he has been on the board of commissioners, Mr. Moffatt said, the amount of the surplus at the end of each year going into the fund has ranged from about $150,000 to $550,000, he said. The commissioners will receive an audit soon showing how much will be added to the reserve from 2012.

"Twenty-five percent of the yearly budget is plenty for a rainy day fund," Mr. Moffatt said.

He said the commissioners won't spend down the general fund reserve immediately -- the policy will be more of a guideline for future commissioners.

The Feb. 20 decision to reduce the reserve follows the commissioners' vote late last year to lower the township's property tax rate for 2013 from 10.23 mills to 9.23 mills.

Commissioner Rich Gray said in October that the township was able to lower its tax rate because of the development that is occurring there.

Mr. Moffatt said the township should tax property owners at a lower level, giving them more money to spend to stimulate the economy.

Also at the commissioners Feb. 20 meeting, Patrolman Carl Steinkopf received a hand-held breath analyzer from the Trooper Kenton Iwaniec Memorial Foundation in recognition of the number of arrests he has made of motorists suspected of driving under the influence.

Police officers said the breath analyzer will not be used to prove someone is driving under the influence of alcohol because the township uses blood tests to prove that.

It will enable the officer to determine whether someone who is acting impaired does not have alcohol in his system and thus might be having a diabetic reaction or might be impaired by the use of drugs, the officers said.

neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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