Stowe residents' property taxes won't go up next year, but change is coming to the way residents call police in non-emergency situations.
Commissioners are holding the line on property taxes for 2013 at a rate of 11.25 mills, of which 3.12 mills are earmarked for debt service payments.
"[This is] one of the first years that we're in the black," said Frank Zieger, president of the commissioners. In 2011, the tax rate was increased by 3 mills.
The $3.456 million budget is up about $314,000 from 2012, in part because of an increase in workers' compensation payments, Commissioner Bill Hoffman said.
A provision has been worked into the budget to allow the township the flexibility to adjust the millage rate after the current countywide reassessment totals are completed. Rates may need to be lowered to balance higher property values.
A $300,000 tax anticipation note will be borrowed by the township.
Starting Jan. 1, residents no longer will be able to call 412-331-4010 for non-emergency police issues, such as parking violations. Instead, they should call Allegheny County's 911 emergency number to have their call dispatched to the department.
Residents should continue to dial 911 in emergencies.
Stowe is one of the last communities to staff nonemergency police dispatch services, said Marie Incorvati, township secretary. The 24/7 service is currently staffed by seven or eight part-time dispatchers, she said.
Layoffs are expected as in-house dispatch hours are cut.
Acting Chief Matt Preininger is considering the possibility of local staffing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Also, Norwood Park will be closed during the winter months because of vandalism,
A picnic table was removed from inside the park fence and the bench was then left in the middle of nearby Harlem Avenue. Garbage cans are repeatedly being knocked over and objects such as logs and shoes are being thrown atop the pavilion, according to reports.
Commissioner Cheryl McDermott said the community had "worked entirely too hard" on refurbishing the parklet to allow for vandalism to go unchecked.
Renovations to the park this past summer were paid for by grants and a donation of $10,000 toward a basketball half-court. Members of the community gathered in June to build new playground equipment there.
To combat future acts of vandalism, video cameras will be installed at the park before it is reopened.
Sonja Reis, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.