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Millage steady, water rates to rise in Brackenridge

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By George Guido
Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 1:06 a.m.

Real estate tax rates won't be going up in Brackenridge next year, but water rates will.

Brackenridge Council on Thursday night approved a $1 million budget that holds the real estate tax rate to 5.77 mills.

Water rates, however, will increase 60 cents per quarter to $27.28, for the first 4,000 gallons of usage.

Earlier estimates had the property tax jumping to 6.27 mills to close a projected $70,000 deficit for next year.

But the water rate increase is expected to garner about $68,000, of which $50,000 will be transferred to the general fund.

“We've tightened our belts as much as we could, “ said Councilman Bill Beale. “The next step is to cut a new loop into the belt.”

Beale, finance committee chairman, commended first-year Councilman John Stanzione's work in getting the budget balanced.

ATI balks at roads fee

Solicitor Craig Alexander reported that Allegheny Technologies Inc., the parent company of ATI-Allegheny Ludlum steel, said in a letter to the borough that a new ordinance mandating a $92 fee per escort through First Avenue for what's termed “super loads” was adding costs to the steelmaker.

ATI said an extra $29,000 in costs is being borne by the company with fees based on permitting and tonnage, plus overtime costs being paid to Brackenridge police officers for the escorting to the mill.

Alexander said he will meet with company attorneys to discuss the ordinance.

In other business

• The saga of Cherry Street looks to continue.

After numerous delays over the years, the street was finally repaved in fall 2011.

Now, some of the new street is deteriorating, causing the borough to check with contractor Ron Gillette Co. to remedy the patch.

Borough engineer James Garvin said Gillette sent a letter to the borough, agreeing to rework the areas.

• Council approved work planned by a contractor hired by FueLand Co. to see if groundwater near a borough service station has been contaminated by a gasoline storage tank leak.

The station, at the corner of First Avenue and Mile Lock Lane, removed an underground tank that borough officials said may have been ruptured. Holes bored through a patch of Brackenridge's riverfront park will test groundwater quality and report the findings to the Department of Environmental Protection.

According to DEP rules, the groundwater needs to be tested every three months.

Borough officials are concerned because the testing area is several hundred feet upriver from the water plant intake area.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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