It’s a new year and time for new municipal budgets. Here is information from some key towns in Westmoreland County. The good news: Most did not raise real estate taxes.
Delmont — There will be no municipal real estate tax increase in the borough this year. Real estate millage is 18 mills and each mill brings in $25,065.97.
The average assessed value of a residential property is $22,820 and an average town real estate tax bill is $410.76. The 2014 budget of $1,036,626 has revenues of $1,036,626 and expenses of $944,350.
Delmont Councilman Andrew Shiffler expects a surplus of $92,276 or more.
The borough’s two greatest sources of income are real estate tax and earned income tax, he said. Its greatest expenses are road improvements and maintenance, completion of a new sewage pump station, police wages and benefits and employee health care insurance.
Work will be ongoing to finish the sewage pump station.
Mr. Shiffler said council was able to avoid raising real estate taxes because ‘we found ways to reduce expense.’’
Council President is James Bortz III. Details: 724- 468-4422.
Derry Township — There will be no tax increase this year. Millage is 3 mills, and each mill brings in about $134,000. The average assessed value of a residential property is $15,440 and an average township tax bill is $46.32. The 2014 budget of $3,052,600 has revenues of $3,052,600 and expenses of $3,052,600.
Surplus in the estimated fund balance is $1,260,075.
The township’s revenues come from earned income tax, Marcellus Shale drilling fees and local service tax.
The township received $374,000 in Marcellus Shale drilling fees in 2013 and Dave Slifka, supervisors’ vice chairman, estimates the township will receive $370,000 in drilling fees this year.
The township’s two biggest expenses are salaries and benefits for public works employees, totaling $742,000; and road and bridge improvements and maintenance at $668,000, he said.
Mr. Slifka said the shale fees the township received in 2013 helped supervisors avoid a tax increase.
“We have 62 wells here,“ he said.
Mr. Slifka said the township’s earned income tax revenue of more than $1 million also helped make a tax increase unnecessary.
There are no new projects planned for this year.
Supervisor chairman is Vince DeCario. Details: 724-539-2961
Irwin — There will be no tax increase this year; millage remains at 15 mills. The average assessed value of a residential property is $18,090 and the average real estate tax bill is $271.The 2014 budget of $5,737,394 has revenues of $5,737,394 and expenses of $5,737,394. A surplus of about $250,000 is expected.
Irwin’s two biggest sources of revenue are real estate tax and earned income tax. Mary Benko, borough manager, said two of this year’s biggest expenses will be a paving project and a storm water sewer line repair and replacement project.
Councilwoman Peggie Watson said no real estate hike was necessary “because we’re good fiduciaries of the taxpayers’ money.’’
Council President is Robert Wayman. Details: 724-864-3100
Jeannette — There will be no real estate tax increase in Jeannette this year. Real estate millage is 32.62 mills, and each mill brings in about $65,000.
Council in December increased the earned income tax for 2014 from 1.32 percent to 1.5 percent of wages. The average assessed value of a residential property is $11,860 and the average town real estate tax bill is $386.87.
The 2014 budget of $5,984,450 has revenues of $5,984,450 and expenses of $5,984,450. The city has a surplus of about $100,000
Mayor Richard Jacobelli said three main sources of revenue for Jeannette in 2014 are $1.2 million in earned income tax, about $1,830,000 in real estate taxes and $162,500 in cable franchise fees. Major expenses include $520,384 for police department pension contributions, $88,760 for fire department pension contributions; general obligation bond payments and a fire truck payment.
New project for the borough this year is cleaning out storm water catch basins.
Mayor Richard Jacobelli serves as council president said real estate taxes did not go up this year because the city is “at its tax limit.’’
North Huntingdon — There will be no tax increase this year. Millage is 9.23 mills, and each mill brings in about $315,000. The average assessed value of a residential property in the township is $25,780, and the average township tax bill is about $237.94. The 2014 budget of North Huntingdon has revenues of $14,247,019 and expenses of $14,110,719.
The township’s three main sources of revenue are real estate taxes, earned income tax and real estate transfer tax. The township’s greatest expenses are salaries and benefits for employees, the paving program and capital equipment for the road department and police.
No large projects are planned
John Shepherd, township manager, explained said the township was able to avoid a real estate tax hike because “revenues are strong and spending is conservative.’’
Commissioners’ President is Rich Gray.
North Irwin — Property owners will see a tax increase this year of 3.5 mills, to a total of 23 mills. The average assessed value of a residential property is $11,780, and the average tax bill is $270.94. The 2014 budget has revenues of $176,151.25, expenses of $175,472.88 and a surplus of about $678.37.
Most borough revenues come from real estate taxes and wage tax. Most spending goes to the road department.
Borough secretary Adele Nehas said taxes are going up because of a need for infrastructure improvements.
“Our sidewalks aren’t good [and] our roads aren’t good,” she said.
Council President is Michael Schade. Details: 724-864-5057
Greensburg — There will be no tax increase this year. Millage is 25.05, which includes 9.5 mills for the sinking fund to pay off long-term debt, and 15.55 mills for the general fund of $10.5 million. The average assessed value of a residential property is $18,850, and the average tax bill is $472.19. The 2014 budget has revenues of $10,505,897 and expenses of $10,505,893.99.
Two of the city’s largest projected sources of revenue in 2014 will be earned income tax at $3 million and real estate tax at $1,927,657. Major expenses include $4,457,214.69 for the public affairs and safety department; $2,835,345.27 for accounts and finance; $1,042,810.93 for administration, development and public operations; $1,042,152.80 for the department of public works; and $1,128,370.30 for parks and recreation.
Mayor Ronald Silvis is council president.
Details: 724- 838-4325.
Hempfield — There will be no real estate tax increase this year. Millage is 3 mills, and each mill brings in $500,000. The average assessed value of a residential property is $24,070, and the average tax bill is $72.21. The 2014 budget of $11.4 million has revenues of $11.4 and expenses of about $11 million.
The township has a surplus of $300,000.
Most revenues come from earned income tax, property tax and part of the local service tax. The largest expenses in the 2014 budget include roadway paving and maintenance; traffic signals and parks.
New project this year is a bridge project on Old Airport Road that will cost more than $700,000 but is mostly funded by the federal government.
Manager Andrew Walz said that township avoided a tax hike again because it “has a very steady revenue rate.’’
“We have not raised taxes since 1990,” he noted.
Supervisor chairman is Doug Weimer. Details: 724-834-7232
Latrobe — There will be no real estate tax increase this year, but council raised the city’s earned income tax from 0.63 percent to 0.9 percent. Residents pay a total of 1.4 percent of their salaries for local earned income tax when the school district percentage of 0.5 percent is included.
Real estate millage is 21.5, with 0.2 mills going to Adams Memorial Library. Each mill brings in about $60,000. Average assessed value of a house is $14,980, and an average real estate tax bill is $322. The 2014 budget of $5,217,568 has revenues of $5,217,568 and expenses of $5,217,568.
Any surplus will be revealed in the final audit for 2013, which may be released in March.
Much of the city’s revenue, 30.4 percent, comes from garbage and building material transfer station recycling fees; earned income tax, which amounts to 27.3 percent of revenues; and real estate tax, which generates $1,178,571.43, or 26.1 of city revenues.
Solid waste disposal is 23 percent of Latrobe’s expense budget; 21.8 percent goes to the police department,; and city employee benefits are 16.8 percent of expenses.
Mayor Rosemarie Wolford serves as council president.
Murrysville — There will be no tax increase. Millage is12.15, and each mill brings in about $329,000. The average assessed value of a residential property is $35,810, and an average municipal tax bill is $435.09. The 2014 budget of $8.3 million general fund has revenues of $8.3 million and expenses of $8.3 million.
Any surplus will be revealed when the final budget reports of 2013 are done.
The two biggest sources of revenue for Murrysville are earned income tax and real estate taxes; the municipality’s two greatest expenses are police salaries, benefits and vehicles; and public works and road maintenance.
New projects will include a summer road paving project and the installation of equipment in parks.
Jim Morrison, chief administrator, said a tax increase was avoided because the municipality “continues to see positive growth in the assessed values and earned income taxes.’’
Council President is Joan Kearns. Details: 724-327-2100
Penn Township — There will be no tax increase this year. Millage is 13.7 for general fund and 1 mill for fire tax. Each mill brings in about $252,000. Average assessed value of a residential property is $28,110, and an average township tax bill is $413.21. The 2014 budget of $8,109,546 has revenues of $8,109,546 and expenses of $8,506,246. The difference will be covered by a carry over of $1.7 million from 2013.
Chief revenue sources are real estate taxes, earned income tax and fire tax. The township’s three greatest expenses are $3.4 million for police and public safety; $2.1 million for road maintenance; and $1.89 million for salaries for administrators, code enforcement officers and planners.
The township plans a paving project and completion of a dog park, walking trails and a foot bridge at Municipal Park in Harrison City.
Secretary/manager Bruce Light said supervisors avoided raising real estate taxes because “we have been frugal in our expenses and operate in some departments with less staff than we had eight or 10 years ago.”
Commissioner’s chairman is Paul Wersing. Details: 724-744-2171.
Unity —There will be no real estate tax increase. For the first time this year, senior citizens who qualify under HUD guidelines will receive a rebate of their 2.2-mill township real estate tax. They will still have to pay the township’s separate 1-mill fire tax. Total millage is 3.2 mills, and each mill brings in about $280,000.
The average assessed value of a residential property is $26,960, and an average township tax bill is $86.27. The total 2014 budget is $5.2 million. Major sources of revenue include $2.6 million in earned income tax, $600,000 in real estate tax and $270,000 in fire tax. The township’s largest expenses are $850,000 for road and bridge maintenance and $248,000 for snow removal. The township has 150 miles of roads, and new project s this year include road paving and sealing.
A surplus of about $700,000 is anticipated.
Supervisors’ chairman Mike O’Barto said the township avoided a tax hike because “we’re very fortunate with the revenue we have coming in as well as the township supervisors’ ability to not overspend.’’
-- Compiled by freelance writer Anne Cloonan