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Mt. Lebanon OKs $32.82M budget

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners passed a $32.82 million operating budget for 2014 on Tuesday, and are considering changes to add storm sewer projects.

The budget passed unanimously, and doesn't increase the property tax rate of 4.51 mills. It includes a $4 million bond issue to be voted on later this year, which would pay for improvements such as maintenance on two parking garages and a new roof for the municipal building.

Commissioners are discussing borrowing $900,000 to add storm sewers to some flood-prone areas.

Storm sewers for Longuevue Drive, Marlin Drive and Mapleton Avenue were discussed Tuesday as possible additions to the budget. Longuevue, for example, currently has only two storm drains for about 3,000 feet of street, and is a candidate for street reconstruction, so it wouldn't have to be torn up and repaved twice.

“We don't want to do the storm work and then come back to reconstruct the street,” said Municipal Engineer Dan Deiseroth.

Finance Director Andrew McCreery said the projects could be added to the bond issue without raising taxes, because that part of the bond could be repaid through the municipality's stormwater fee.

All property owners in Mt. Lebanon pay $8 a month or more for stormwater management projects, depending on how much runoff-producing sidewalk, driveway and roof area is at each property.

The budget includes $127,000 to add a fifth detective to the Mt. Lebanon police, who will focus full-time on drug investigations. It funded an additional aerial count of the local deer population, and an education program on how to prevent deer-related accidents, but didn't include money for a deer-culling program.

“While I did vote ‘yes,' I do not agree with the decision to keep deer management off the budget for this coming year,” said Commissioner Kristen Linfante.

In a separate vote, the commission approved amendments to the 2013 budget that allocated $637,400 toward a $1 million project to install artificial turf at two overlapping fields in Mt. Lebanon's Main Park.

The money came from previous years' unspent funds and an unfinished project to improve Brafferton Field. Sports groups will be responsible for raising another $250,000 for the project and the rest of the municipality's $750,000 share will have to come from future unspent funds.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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