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Ligonier Township residents could face 1.5-mill tax increase

| Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 12:15 p.m.

A 1.5-mill tax increase is likely for Ligonier Township residents, costing the average property owner an additional $27 in real estate taxes. Supervisors Wednesday morning approved a $3.3 million budget for 2013, which includes increasing taxes from 3.5 mills to 5 mills.

One mill generates about $92,000.

Officials staved off a tax increase for the last several years by cutting costs, according to Supervisor Tim Komar.

Last year, supervisors predicted they would not be able to do it again for 2013.

“For the last two years, we've transferred money from the capital fund, but we have to do what we have to do,” Komar said. “We've cut corners every place we could. And we have to look to the future.”

According to Komar, the township will have to replace one of its aging trucks in the next year, and it could have to fund a Zion Church Road bridge project.

“We don't want to run on a shoestring, in case something major happens,” he said.

Officials last increased taxes 1 mill in 2005. The average homeowner pays about $60 in taxes currently.

In another change for 2013, former supervisor Grover Binkey join the board. He will replace Supervisor Carl Penrod, who is retiring Jan. 6.

Binkey will serve until November, when voters will elect a supervisor.

Binkey, 74, said he does not plan to run for the position.

“I just wanted to help out and do what needed done until the election,” Binkey said. “I didn't think it was fair to have someone who was appointed run in the election. It gives them somewhat of an advantage in the election, in my opinion.”

Binkey served as supervisor from 1994 to 2006.

Supervisor Keith Whipkey said officials decided to tap Binkey's experience in office.

Binkey currently serves as an auditor for the township. Supervisors will appoint someone to fill that position until the November election, as well, Whipkey said.

Other vacancies expected in January include seats on the township' municipal authority and recreation boards.

Those who would like to be considered for the municipal authority, board of auditors or recreation board should send letters of interest to supervisors at 1 Municipal Park Drive, Ligonier, PA 15658.

Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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