Breaking down budgets, taxes

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The new year brings new municipal budgets and tax bills.

This is part two of a look at budgets and tax rates in some Allegheny County communities in the East suburbs. Last week's list included Braddock through North Braddock and some Westmoreland County municipalities. That information remains available at www.post-gazette.com. Many municipal budgets are available at the towns' websites.

Oakmont — The property tax rate did not increase this year, remaining at 3.4 mills. The median taxable value for a residential property is $130,700, and an average borough real estate tax bill is $444. The 2014 budget has revenues of $3.69 million and expenses of $3.68 million.

Two major sources of revenue are real estate taxes of $1.53 million and other local taxes of $1.28 million.

Major expenses include police salaries, health insurance, pension contributions, police vehicle leases, maintenance and repair, and public works expenses.

Details: 412-828-3232

Penn Hills  — The property tax rate remained unchanged this year at 5.4 mills, with each mill bringing in $1.43 million. The median taxable value for a residential property is $68,700, and the average municipal tax bill is $374.

The 2014 budget totals $47 million.

Details: 412-798-2100

Plum — The property tax rate remained 3.78 mills for 2014. Each mill brings in $1.52 million. The median taxable value of a residential property is $110,400, and an average tax bill is estimated at $417. The 2014 budget has general fund revenues of $11.84 million and expenses of $11.81 million.

The budget’s general fund for 2013 had a surplus of $200,000; and the borough also has a $1.5 million fund balance

The top revenue sources are real estate taxes, earned income taxes and sanitation fees. The biggest expenses are police, sanitation and public works.

New projects this year include a $1.2 million road construction plan; storm water work costing $350,000; and park improvements of $291,000.

Details: 412-795-6800

Swissvale -— The property tax rate remained unchanged at 7.04 mills this year. Each mill brings in $327,000. The median taxable value of a residential property is $62,300, and an average town real estate tax bill is $438.

Revenues and expenses in the 2014 budget each total $6.46 million.

The borough has a surplus of about $100,000 from 2013.

Its biggest income sources are real estate taxes and earned income tax; its biggest costs are employee salaries and benefits and vehicle expenses.

While there is no big project planned for this year, the borough is still completing its 2013 road paving project, which involves about 12 streets.

“We keep constant watch on the income so the expenses will not exceed that income,” finance officer Diane Turley said.

Details: 412-271-7101

Versailles —- The property tax rate did not change this year, remaining 7 mills. The new budget has revenues and expenses of $848,900 each. A surplus of 10,000 from 2013 is dedicated to wages while borough officials wait for their tax anticipation loan to arrive.

The borough expects to collect $320,000 in real estate taxes in 2014. Its biggest sources of revenue are real estate taxes, earned income taxes and business privilege taxes. Its greatest expenses are wages and benefits for two full-time police officers plus street-paving costs.

Council is planning to do more street paving this year, but no amount has been set.

“It’s basically just keeping our expenses down,” borough secretary Barbara  Warhold said. “They’re hoping to have more part-time police officers to avoid paying overtime to full-timers.”

Details: 412-751-3922

White Oak — The property tax rate remained unchanged at 4.66 mills this year. The median taxable value of a residential property is $79,700, and an average tax bill is $371. The 2014 budget has revenues of $5.38 million and expenses of $5.11 million.

The budget contains a surplus of about $2 million for all monies, not including pension funds.

Most revenues come from real estate, mercantile and business privilege taxes; the borough also receives state liquid fuels money.

Secretary/treasurer Nancy Greenland said most budget expenses are for police, fire and ambulance services and public road projects.

A new project this year is an addition that will be built onto the White Oak Athletic Association to house a new community center.

Ms. Greenland said a tax increase was avoided by careful budgeting and not buying new equipment.

Details: 412-672-9727

Wilkins  — The property tax rate rose by 1 mill this year, bringing the tax rate to 5.674 mills. Each mill brings in about $300,000.

The median value of a residential property is $78,400, and an average municipal tax bill is $444. The 1-mill increase will mean additional taxes of $78.40 for a homeowner with a property of median value.

The 2014 budget has $5.14 million in both revenues and expenses.

The three main sources of revenue are real estate taxes, earned income tax and business privilege tax. The township’s biggest expense is employee wages, health insurance costs for full-time employees, and pension benefits for retirees.

The township spends at least 200,000 each year for road repaving. It is in the third phase of a four-phase sewer project on Dowling Avenue, replacing nonfunctional sanitary sewer lines. It also is separating sanitary sewers and storm sewers along Highland Avenue with the help of a $350,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Officials are seeking more grant assistance to finish that project.

Manager Rebecca Bradley said one reason the tax increase was needed is because the ProCare mail-order drug company moved from Wilkins to Monroeville in 2007. The company formerly provided revenue of about $900,000 per year to the township.

“It was a huge loss for us,” she said.

Details: 412-824-6650

Wilmerding -— The property tax rate remained 8 mills for 2014. The median value of a residential property is $27,000, and an average real estate tax bill is $216. The 2014 budget has revenues and expenses of $798,990 each. The borough has a surplus of about $2,000.

The borough's biggest sources of revenue are real estate and earned income taxes. The biggest expenses are for the public works department for road maintenance and for the contract with North Versailles to provide police protection, borough manager Joe Hartzell said.

No new projects are planned for this year.

Details: 412-823-0420.


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