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Tentative budget in Blawnox includes no tax hike

Tawnya Panizzi
| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 12:18 a.m.

Blawnox council approved a tentative 2017 budget, but it could change before being approved in December, Manager Cindy Bahn said.

The preliminary $1.4 million plan holds the property tax rate steady at 9.85 mils. If approved, the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $985.

Bahn said the millage has increased only slightly, from 8.74 to 9.85, in the past dozen years.

“Nobody likes to raise taxes, but you can't sustain the millage rate like that when costs keep going up,” she said.

Council will meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 in the municipal office along Freeport Road and will likely discuss the budget. They will meet at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15, when they are expected to vote.

Administration has worked hard to control expenses in the tentative budget, Bahn said, and a bond refinance last year saved borough taxpayers a substantial amount of money in 2016.

Still, there are capital improvements that council hopes to implement next year.

Council is planning to lease two new vehicles, one for the police and one for the public works department.

The police vehicle will cost $10,500 a year for four years. The utility truck for the road crew will cost $26,000 in the first year for a package that includes a plow and salt spreader, and then the cost will be $8,000 the next three years.

“The utility truck they have now is from 2004. We want them to have something more current when the weather starts getting bad,” Bahn said.

Council is expected to budget $5,000 for borough events like the Memorial Day parade and the Public Safety Appreciation Day, and members are reviewing potential candidates for road repairs next year.

Bahn said she is hoping to earn grant money from the state for park improvements like new equipment and mulching.

She is also banking on state grants of up to $80,000 to bring the office technology up to speed.

“We really need new computers, software and a new website,” she said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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