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New Kensington property taxes won't rise

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 1:07 a.m.

New Kensington Council on Tuesday approved the city's 2013 budget, which holds the line on taxes.

Property taxes will remain at 27.03 mills in the $7.24 million spending plan.

Expenses increased by about $100,000 from this year, due largely to routine increases in salaries, benefits and insurance rates, officials have said.

Council agreed to borrow $1.2 million in a tax-anticipation loan, a loan many municipalities use to pay expenses at the start of the year until taxes begin to arrive. First National Bank offered the lowest interest rate at 1.59 percent.

Council also agreed to renew several contracts with service providers, including Waste Management for garbage collection. Next year will be the third of a three-year contract with the company.

City Clerk Dennis Scarpiniti said the city will be billed $120.40 per ton, an increase of $2.82 per ton from this year. Controller John Zavadak estimated 7,000 tons of garbage are collected annually in New Kensington, which would cost more than $800,000.

Mayor Tom Guzzo said there would be no increase in fees for residents.

Hunchar Cleaning Service will continue to provide custodial services at city hall for $22,570 per year, a $1,570 increase from 2012 (about 7 percent more).

Professional Code Services Inc. will continue to provide commercial code inspections under the same rates and conditions as this year.

Good deeds lauded

Councilman Doug Aftanas offered certificates of appreciation to Patrick Coulson from the Westmoreland County Community College, Heather Pacek from Sheetz and Valley High School JROTC members for their volunteer efforts during the city's holiday parade and festivities over the weekend.

Aftanas said the events were at risk of being canceled when two members of the recreation commission that oversees the holiday programming became ill.

Coulson offered the community college as a site for the reception with Santa following the parade and Pacek helped organize volunteers when she cold-called Aftanas to offer Sheetz's participation in the parade.

“They are two very, very solid people,” Aftanas said.

“It went incredibly well,” Coulson said. “We pulled together a lot of resources very quickly.”

He was especially thankful for the help of the JROTC students who helped decorate the college.

“We really appreciated being able to showcase the community college,” Coulson added.

“We have some great young leaders in this room,” Aftanas said, referring to council chambers that were filled Tuesday with JROTC members as well as Boy Scouts from Troop 390 who were attending the meeting to work on a badge.

Guzzo said the Light-Up Night and dinner that he sponsors also went well.

He estimated 300 free dinners were served, an increase over the prior two years.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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