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Derry Borough tax rate holds the line

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Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

Derry Borough council on Friday approved a tentative 2013 budget that does not raise property taxes.

The budget calls for $856,934 in total revenue and $850,634 in expenditures while holding the real estate tax rate at the current 27.75 mills.

Council President Randy McCreary said borough officials sat down this week and “ironed out some things” to arrive at a budget that avoids a tax increase.

“We managed to keep our head above water,” he said.

Council member Kristine Melville was credited with much of the work in preparing the tentative spending plan.

Councilman Jim Byers, who also contributed to the plan, said the borough trimmed some expenditures that had been budgeted in past years but were never carried out.

“We cut back the fat,” Melville said.

According to the proposed budget, the borough expects each mill next year to generate $12,524.27 in revenue, with 9 percent of that amount unlikely to be paid when due. At the beginning of this year, 1 mill generated $12,650.73.

Melville noted that the borough has benefited from some unexpected revenue — including a $7,000 share of receipts from the state's Marcellus shale impact fee, payment from the Derry Area School District for policing services by the borough force and an increase in funding through the Westmoreland County Drug Task Force.

After an executive session, council approved a five-year contract with borough police officers.

McCreary declined to reveal the terms of the contract until the document has been formally signed. Byers and Mayor David Bolen were credited with helping to reach an agreement.

Bolen called the contract a fair one, given the borough's limited funds.

He noted that the contract wil allow borough police to continue to provide 24/7 coverage.

He said reaching the settlement “kept it from going to arbitration. That was our goal.”

In a related motion, council agreed to advertise for two part-time officers after Bolen reported that a part-time officer was recently injured and could be off duty for at least three months.

Until he is able to add more officers, he said, Police Chief Randy Glick has agreed to work 72 hours each week to avoid overtime costs for other officers.

Bolen said three full-time officers and three part-timers are available for duty.

Council agreed to donate $100 to help cover costs of a Dec. 7 Christmas celebration sponsored by the Derry Area Revitalization Committee at Mossback Park in downtown Derry.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the event will include music by the Derry Area High School Band, lighting of a Christmas tree, a visit with Santa and food and drink concessions.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910, or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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