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Budget discussions continue in Carnegie

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Carnegie Borough officials continued discussion Monday night of the 2014 municipal budget.

Councilman Mike Sarsfield was absent, and council president Rick D'Loss left the meeting early. In addition to the rest of council, the mayor and borough manager also participated in discussions.

Council Vice President Pat Catena noted at the preliminary meeting that the budget numbers from each department are not concrete amounts, but rather a wish list, and most departments will see their original numbers dropped.

He said it is still too early to tell whether the tax rate will remain flat or decrease.

Budgets discussed Monday included general government expenses, legal expenses, municipal building expenses, pensions and healthcare.

Salaries will remain at $1,620 apiece for council members and $2,160 for the mayor.

The borough currently is $16,817 over its budgeted $90,000 for legal expenses and payment to the borough solicitor. Catena said some of that comes from the ongoing legal issues between the borough and the Carnegie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Bureau.

Officials from the fire department were invited to Monday's meeting to discuss their budget, but none attended.

The fire department has used $186,326 of its $208,114 borough budget. Fire officials are asking for $207,157 next year. The borough continues to pay the department's mortgage, which is $7,727 a month.

The borough tentatively will continue to fund $30,000 toward the library, as well. Catena said the library had asked the borough for increased funding.

Councilwoman Carol Ann Covi said she could not justify giving more to the library if the fire department did not also receive an increase.

“If the library catches fire, it's going to be the fire department putting it out,” she said.

Borough Mayor Jack Kobistek said $30,000 is a “substantial contribution” from a borough the size of Carnegie.

“We have an obligation to the taxpayers, and the library doesn't serve everybody,” he said. “Everybody needs to (raise funds) for their own existence.”

The next borough budget meeting will be held Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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