North Versailles preliminary budget holds line on real estate taxes

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North Versailles commissioners approved a $6,384,823 tentative budget for 2013 on Nov. 20, holding township real estate taxes at 7.5 mills and the fire tax at 0.5 mill.

Commissioner George Beswick said the tentative budget passed by a 6-0 vote. He was absent during the vote.

In a separate measure, four of seven commissioners voted to approve a new three-year contract to allow the North Versailles Police Department to provide protection for Wilmerding.

Commissioners George Thompson, Russell Saula, Frank Bivins and Daryl Mitchell voted for the police service contract; Commissioners Art Marra and Sam Juliano abstained from the vote, and Mr. Beswick was absent, he said.

During the first year of the contract, Wilmerding will pay $205,937 for police protection, $220,353 in the second year and $235,777 in the third year.

Mr. Beswick, who is opposed to the contract, said Wilmerding's 2,190 residents will pay about $94 per person per year for police protection, while North Versailles residents will pay about $274 per person per year for that same police protection,

He arrived at this figure, he said, based on an estimated cost of the police department -- including wages, benefits and insurances -- of between $2.8 million and $3 million. In North Versailles, projected township revenue from real estate taxes in 2013 will be $2,777,250, he said.

The remaining police department expenses, as well as salaries for township secretaries and others, are paid from other sources of revenue, Mr. Beswick said.

In North Versailles, running the police department, which includes 19 full-time officers, costs the township about 45 percent to 48 percent of its total budget, Mr. Beswick said.

"We're full-time heavy," he said.

He contrasted the department to that of Ohio Township. That township's website says it has 12 full-time officers, 22 part-time officers, two clerks and a chief and patrols within its own borders and that of seven other communities. Mr. Beswick said the cost of operating that department is about $1.8 million per year.


Anne Cloonan, freelance writer:


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