New municipal budgets in East suburban area

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The new year brings new municipal budgets — and tax bills.

Here's a look at budgets and tax rates in key Allegheny County communities in the East suburbs. Additional municipalities' budgets will be published next week.

Braddock — There will be a ½ mill real estate tax increase  this year. Millage is 11.65 mills, and each mill generates $33,262 in revenue. A residential property of median taxable value is $10,410. An average town tax bill for that property is $121.

The 2014 budget is $1,717,777. Both budgeted revenue and expenditures equal that amount. There is no surplus from 2013.

The borough’s top sources of revenue are real estate taxes, earned income taxes and the 1% sales tax (RAD revenue).  The greatest expenses are police salaries, garbage collection fees and general liability and workers compensation insurance.

No new projects are planned.

Manager Maria McCool it was necessary for several taxes to increase in Braddock in 2014:

"The reason real estate tax millage went up and residential earned income tax went up from.6 to 1.0 percent and non-residential income tax went up from 1.05 to 1.5 percent was because of a loss in the USX property assessment in 2013," she said.

Details: 412-271-1018.

Braddock Hills — There will be no tax increase and millage remains at 6.20 mills. The median taxable value of a residential property is $52,650, and an average municipal real estate tax bill is $326.69. The 2014 budget has revenues of $1,222,922 and expenses of $1,222,922. The borough has a surplus of about $205,000.

Most borough revenue comes from real estate and business taxes: most of that goes to pay for road improvements and police department expenses, including vehicles, salaries, benefits, equipment and supplies.

No new projects are planned. 

Solicitor Robert Garvin said the town received an unexpected payment of $43,000 from the H Square company for traffic control services provided morning and evening by borough police officers along Brinton Road:

Braddock Hills also received several thousand dollars in real estate transfer tax from Propel Charter Schools when the company bought a building in Braddock Hills Shopping Center. Mr. Garvin said earned income tax revenue also increased slightly when that tax began to be collected on a regional basis.

Details: 412-241-5080

Churchill — There will be a tax increase of 1.25 mills, up from 4.23 mills in 2013. Millage is 5.48 mills and each mill brings in $251,000. The median taxable value of a residential property is $146,700, and an average municipal tax bill is $803..

Manager Craig Robinson said the hike was needed because the borough lost real estate tax revenue from the former Westinghouse Research buildings site. Westinghouse was formerly Churchill’s largest taxpayer, he said.

“We lost about $100,000 each year on that property,” Mr. Robinson said.

 The 2014 budget has revenues of $2,423,210 and expenses of $2,425,000. The budget contains a deficit of $1,790. “We have cash carry over that will cover that,” Mr. Robinson said.

Most revenues come from real estate taxes; also earned income tax and about $180,000 from grants, permit fees and fines, he said. The biggest expenses are payroll and benefits for police and administrative staff, operating expenses, including liability insurance.

There are no new projects.

Details: 412-241-7113

East Pittsburgh -- There will be a 1.56 mill real estate tax increase.  Millage is 13.45 mills and each mill brings in $42,422 in revenue. The median taxable value of a residential property is $30,200, and an average town real estate tax bill is $406.

The 2014 budget of $1,456,351 has revenues and expenses of an equal amount. There was a surplus of about $34,468 in 2013. The borough’s top sources of revenue are real estate and earned income taxes and the 1% sales tax (RAD revenue). Top expenditures are police salaries; garbage collection fees and general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

Manager Eileen Navish said the increase was needed because last year the borough completed a large paving project on Linden Avenue. "We took out a ten year Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank Loan at an interest rate of 1.625%.,” she said. “In addition, we paved ten separate smaller locations in 2013. This is the first year of repayment of that loan.''

She said the town also budgeted funds to seal streets make final payments for two leased police vehicles and purchase a new one.

Details: 412-823-7124.

East McKeesport —- Taxes will decrease this year from 7.9 to 7.4 mills The median taxable value of a residential property is $53,600 and an average tax bill is $396.64. The new budget of $1,189,367 has revenues of $1,189,367 and expenses of $1,189,367. Any surplus will be revealed in the borough’s final budget report.

Administrator Connie Rosenbayger said taxes went down because property values increased during Allegheny County’s reassessment.

The municipality's greatest source of revenue is real estate and earned income taxes; then the county 1 percent sales and use tax.

Ms. Rosenbayger said wages are the borough’s biggest expense, followed by vehicle maintenance and a small loan payment for a paving project each year.

New this year is the borough applying for a infrastructure bank loan from PennDOT to do $300,000 in paving.

Details: 412-824-2531

Forest Hills — There will be no tax increase and millage remains at 8 mills and each mill brings in about $391,000. The median taxable value of a residential property is $100,950 and an average municipal real estate tax bill is $807.60. The 2014 general fund budget has revenues and expenses of $6,106,199.Any surplus will be revealed when the final budget report for 2013 is issued.

Real estate taxes, earned income taxes and trash collection/recycling fees are the biggest sources of revenue; biggest expenses are worker salaries and benefits.

The borough will be repaving about 6 road segments and finishing a big tennis court renovation at the main park at the intersection of Ardmore Blvd. and Braddock Road.

Manager Steve Morus said the last real estate tax hike was in 2007.

Details: 412-351-7330.

McKeesport —- There will be no tax increase. Millage remains at 4.26 mills on buildings and 16.5 mills on land - they are added together to figure taxes for each property. Each mill brings in about $73,000. The median taxable value of a residential property is $22,900 and an average city real estate tax bill is $475.40. The 2014 budget of $18,593,930.92 has revenues of $18,593,930 and expenses of $18,593,930.

The three top sources of revenue are $2,304,809 in real estate taxes, a little over $2.3 million in earned income tax, municipal service fees of $2.1 million for garbage, police and fire services; $150,000 in real estate transfer taxes and $100,000 in delinquent real estate taxes. Expenses include $4,933,537 for police salaries, benefits and vehicles; $2,258,467.49 for firefighters’ salaries, benefits and vehicles; minimum pension contributions of $1.902.055 and $927,981 in insurance costs.

A new Kaboom playground will be installed in the Highland Grove neighborhood this year; and the city will demolish condemned houses for the first time with a new excavator.

Administrator Matt Gergely said a tax hike was not necessary because "we spent last year cutting expenses and were more aggressive in collecting regular and delinquent taxes.''

Details: 412- 675-5020.

Monroeville —- Since council did not vote in December on a final budget for 2014, council members haven’t decided yet whether to raise millage this year, Interim Manager Tim Little said.

Millage is still 2.43 mills and each mill brings in about $2.2 million. The median taxable value of a residential property is $107,800 and an average municipal real estate tax bill is $261. The 2014 budget of $26,569,357 has revenues and expenditures of the same amount.

Monroeville has a surplus of about $2.9 million; with $1.9 million of that reserved in a type of rainy day fund.

Top sources of revenue are $5.6 million in real estate taxes and $6.7 million from wage tax. Business privilege and mercantile taxes are each expected to bring in $3 million this year.

Three of the municipality’s large expenses are police department wages,benefits and vehicles at about $10 million; about $6.1 million for public works; and debt service payments at $3.1 million

Details: 412-856-1000

Munhall —- Interim Manager Harry Faulk, who was hired by council last month, said council reopened the r 2014 budget on Jan. 8 and has not set a final real estate tax millage rate.

Millage in the final budget passed in December was 10.75 mills. The median taxable value of a residential property is $61,200. An average town tax bill on that house using 10.75 mills would be $657.

The 2014 budget of $6.7 million approved in December had revenues and expenses of the same amount.

Top sources of revenue are real estate and earned income taxes; biggest expenses are employee salaries and benefits and pension contributions

There are no new projects.

Details: 412-464-7310.

North Braddock -- There will be no tax increase this year. Millage is 11 mills and each mill brings in about $45,000. Median value of a property is $17,450. That property would have a town real estate tax bill of $191. 

The 2014 budget of $3.2 million has revenues of $3.2 million and same aount of expenses.

A surplus of about $250,000 is earmarked for sewer repairs.

The town’s biggest sources of revenue are real estate and earned income taxes and sewer receipts; greatest expenses are $550,000 in salaries, benefits and vehicles for the police department; and sewer repair costs.

New project this year is sewer repairs.

Manager Doug Marguriet said the town avoided a tax increase because there was "growth in the earned income tax.''

Details: 412-271-1306. 


-- Compiled by freelance writer Anne Cloonan

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