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East Deer puts off park work in light of potential Pittsburgh Glass Works plant closing

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, 10:30 a.m.
Cracks are readily apparent in the tennis court at East Deer's Memorial Park on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Cracks run from the tennis court into the adjoining dek hockey court. Township commissioners say they can't move forward with fixing the courts because of financial uncertainties created by the potential closing of the Pittsburgh Glass Works windshield plant next year.
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Cracks are readily apparent in the tennis court at East Deer's Memorial Park on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Cracks run from the tennis court into the adjoining dek hockey court. Township commissioners say they can't move forward with fixing the courts because of financial uncertainties created by the potential closing of the Pittsburgh Glass Works windshield plant next year.
Cracks in the dek hockey court at East Deer's Memorial Park on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Cracks in the dek hockey court at East Deer's Memorial Park on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer. (Trib Photo)
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer. (Trib Photo)

Cracks in East Deer's tennis and dek hockey courts will have to wait for repairs because of the potential closing of the Pittsburgh Glass Works' plant there.

Commissioner Anthony Taliani said the township will have to wait and see if the windshield plant closes next year and what the impact may be on the township's finances.

Just fixing the cracks in the recreational facilities at the township's Memorial Park could cost up to $9,000, Taliani said.

More extensive improvements could run nearly $40,000, which the township would have to pay.

The township is holding off.

“We feel we need to be very cautious and conservative with our finances until we find out what's happening,” Taliani said.

PGW, now a division of Mexico-based Vitro, announced in October that the plant is likely to close next summer. Taliani said the company told township officials there is a high probability of it closing sometime between April and October.

The plant consumes nearly a third of all the water East Deer sells, with a bill of $15,000 to $17,000 per month, Taliani said. The township buys its water in bulk from Tarentum.

The plant's 200 employees pay about $10,000 annually in Local Services Tax to the township.

Despite the potential lost revenue, East Deer's commissioners have approved a roughly $961,000 budget for 2018 that doesn't increase property taxes. The rate will remain at 4.9 mills.

In crafting next year's spending plan, Taliani said they counted on losing half of the Local Services Tax money and nearly a third of the water revenue.

Taliani said he expects the real estate tax on the Pittsburgh Glass Works property will still be paid. The plant is the largest real estate taxpayer in the township.

Helped by the township's reserves, Taliani said no cuts were made anywhere else.

A mid-year closing would cushion the blow; if the plant does close, the full impact would be seen in 2019.

The tennis and dek hockey courts are usable even with the cracks, Taliani said. He said he's hopeful the township will still be able to repair them later in the year “once we know what's going on.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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