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Brackenridge may increase taxes by 9.5%

| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Brackenridge residents might face a 9.5 percent real estate tax increase in 2013.

Although reluctant to consider the hike, some council members said it was necessary to account for rising costs.

“We're down to the bare bones,” Councilman Timothy Connelly said.

The proposed half-mill increase would take next year's real estate tax to 6.27 mills from the current rate of 5.77 mills.

Council voted 4-1 to approve the preliminary spending plan.

Councilwoman Mary Lou Poli voted against it.

Councilwoman Charlene Stobert was absent.

The proposed budget of about $1 million is an approximate $30,000 increase over the current year's budget of $970,000.

At Monday's budget meeting, council raked over each area of the budget and tried to scrape a little off here and there in areas such as office supplies.

One major way council is trying to save in 2013 is by cutting its insurance costs.

It plans to shop around and hopes to save as much as $10,000 by finding a new insurer or pressuring its current insurers to drop rates.

Council also hopes to cut down on as much as $15,000 by managing police costs, especially overtime.

Council members say just the inflation of basic costs, such as gasoline, has made planning for 2013 harder than the previous year.

“We don't have the money,” said Councilwoman Mary Lou Poli.

Connelly also said several of the borough's vehicles, including the street sweeper, two maintenance trucks and some of the police patrol cars must to be replaced.

“We're not the only ones facing this,” Councilman Timothy Connelly said.

Council will vote on the final budget at its December meeting.

Sarah Kovash is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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