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Cheswick police cuts avert higher taxes

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Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A $30,000 reduction in Cheswick's police department budget means “essentially” no tax increase in the borough's 2013 budget approved Monday.

The borough achieved the reduction through the recent firing of its only full-time officer and choosing to run the department with all part-time officers, except for the chief, Mayor Daniel Carroll said.

“Without having to pay benefits and union scale (pay), it will save the borough a lot of money,” Carroll said after the meeting. “It will help us maintain our current police department.”

The budget includes about $380,000 in combined funding for Cheswick's fire and police departments.

Council voted last week to dismiss its only full-time police officer for conduct unbecoming of an officer. The department's six part-time officers earn $12.25 an hour.

Millage remains undecided

Council set its anticipated property tax revenue at just under $575,000, about the same as last year.

The millage rate is yet to be determined because the borough still does not have final real estate assessment figures due to residents' appeals of their home values under Allegheny County's recent property reassessment.

“The bottom line is, we are essentially going to have no tax increase,” said councilman Frank Meledandri.

Whether a homeowner's real estate tax bill increases will depend on whether the assessed value increased or decreased under the county reassessment.

Council discussed the option of waiting until mid-March to set the millage rate. Borough real estate tax bills are set to go out on April 1.

“They've been pretty consistent with what they've been doing, on average, with appeals, so we'll be able to get a pretty good estimate,” said Meledandri.

The Allegheny County judge overseeing the reassessment gave counties until Jan. 31 to pass a budget and set property tax rates. Normally municipalities must do so by Dec. 31.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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