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Despite tough 2012, Trafford officials don't expect tax hike

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

Despite borrowing money this fall to keep borough services active and cover payroll expenses, Trafford Council doesn't intend to raise the property tax rate for 2013.

A budget draft that council will review at a meeting on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. proposes that the tax rate remain at 28.5 mills for the second consecutive year. Council plans to examine each line item before passing a preliminary budget that night.

The vote on a final budget is scheduled for Dec. 18.

“It's been a joint effort with everyone,” said Councilwoman Vicki Megon, one of the leaders of the finance committee. “We're very happy to say we're on the right track.”

Earlier this month, Council closed on a $2.75 million general-obligation bond to restructure its debts and replenish the general fund for most of the estimated $600,000 in cost overruns for construction and furnishing of the new public safety building.

Because of the public-safety-building cost overruns, finances became so dire that the borough — which had budgeted for a $1.35 million worth of expenditures this year — had less than $4,400 in its general fund leading up to the Nov. 9 payroll. The bond, which was finalized Nov. 8, was used to reimburse Trafford for $382,563 of overruns from July through September.

Another $150,000 worth of contracts approved in June was not eligible for reimbursement because council already spent the proceeds from its former $2 million construction loan, and a statute of limitations prevented Trafford from including the payments in the bond.

As part of the borrowing, council will repay the sewage fund for $82,600 in loans taken in March, August and October.

Mayor Rey Peduzzi credited Megon, Councilman John Daykon and borough administrator Lisa Mallik for getting the town's finances straightened out. Megon and Daykon took over the finances after Council President Rich Laird removed Councilman Frank Bruno as finance chairman in March.

“I think they have been very successful in putting us on very sound footing, and we can move forward,” Peduzzi said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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