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Fox Chapel Borough reaches tentative 2013 spending plan

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

Fox Chapel Council has reached a tentative 2013 budget, yet no millage rate has been established for the property tax rate in the new year.

“With the reassessments, we don't have a number yet,” said borough manager Gary Koehler. “We are looking for it to be fairly level with our budget last year.”

The proposal is available for review at the borough building along Fox Chapel Road.

Council is expected to vote on a final budget during its meeting on Dec. 17.

If council holds the tax rate steady to last year's 2.4 mils, the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 will pay property taxes of $480.

Koehler hinted that a possible tax increase would be minimal.

“We anticipate receiving the same amount in taxes but there may be some increase to cover some of the appeals costs,” he said.

Highlights of the 2013 budget include a much-anticipated upgrade to Field Club and Highland roads.

They are the busiest roads in the borough after Squaw Run Road, which was repaved this year, Koehler said.

Costs are estimated at $850,000 for the work. It's a significant hike — about 40 percent — over the $600,000 spent this year.

Borough officials also will continue the guide rail replacement program, where about $100,000 has been spent annually to replace the safety barriers along roads and bridges.

It is part of a five-year maintenance project that started after a state inspection recommended that seven sections of rusted guide rail be replaced.

Three sections have been done in the last two years.

“We budgeted $100,000 for guide rails in 2013, which cover the roads scheduled for paving, plus another $40,000 for other areas of the borough,” said Joy Hardt, finance director.

The public works department got the OK to purchase a 10-ton dump truck at $170,000 and to trade a mini excavator for a mid-sized one for $59,200.

The police department will purchase a new patrol vehicle, Hardt said, for $30,000 and 13 portable radios for $14,300 total.

“They also will get three patrol rifles for a cost of $4,800,” she said.

Council will meet next at 6 p.m. Dec. 17.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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