Spending increase benefits Frazer police

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

The new Frazer police contract and related expenses comprise the majority of a $57,000 jump from the township's current budget to next year's $1.2 million spending plan.

The three-year contract, which supervisors signed last week, calls for an 18 percent pay raise next year for the chief and the sergeant, the only full-time officer.

Both will receive subsequent 6 percent pay raises in 2015 and 2016.

The deal will ultimately boost salaries by 33 percent, to $66,300 for the chief, and $44,500 for the sergeant's position. Neither will receive additional benefits or paid sick and vacation days.

The township's 10 part-time officers could receive a pay raise pending supervisors' approval next month.

The $1.67 hourly raise bumps the starting wage for eight part-timers from $11.33 to $13 per hour. The two longer tenured officers would earn $13.33 and $13.67 per hour.

Police will get a new patrol car to go with their raises.

Supervisors agreed to spend $24,200 on a 2013 Dodge Charger from Tri-Star Motors.

Lori Ziencik, township secretary and a supervisor, said the board will finalize the purchase when the dealer makes the car available.

The Charger will be among other department vehicles that will get video cameras next year, should supervisors approve the spending. The board set aside $8,000 for the cameras in next year's budget, but won't necessarily spend it.

“We still have to review all of our options before we actually commit that money,” Ziencik said. “It's something that would happen down the road.”

No property tax hike

Despite the added police expenses, the township's final 2014 budget won't raise real estate taxes on its property owners.

The rate will hold steady at 1.42 mills, which this year was the fourth lowest millage rate in Allegheny County. The only municipalities in the county with lower tax rates were McCandless, Franklin Park and Pine Township, all of which are in the North Hills.

“Our goal when the (Pittsburgh Mills) mall was built was to keep the tax rate as low as possible for residents and businesses,” Ziencik said. “I think we've been pretty successful.”

The township will enter 2014 with a surplus of $82,000. The surplus, Ziencik said, derives mostly from revenue generated through the township's local services tax.

The local services tax, which replaced the emergency and municipal services tax in 2008, is levied on those who are employed by businesses that operate within the township.

With more than 3,000 employees working at the mall and other businesses daily, Ziencik said the township in recent years has grown accustomed to budget surpluses.

Ziencik was noncommittal about how the board will use the surplus, but it won't be to add jobs or services to the township. She said no municipal jobs will be cut or added, and all major fees will remain steady through next year.

The board will meet Jan. 7 for its reorganization meeting.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com.

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