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Liognier Township tax rate remains at 5 mills

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

The real estate tax rate in Ligonier Township should stay at 5 mills for 2014, according to a tentative $1,862,550 budget the supervisors voted to adopt Dec. 5.

Each mill will generate approximately $100,000, supervisor Tim Komar said.

Although the total revenue for 2014 is projected at $1,710,935, Komar said he is not worried about expenditures, as the township's projected cash balance for the end of 2013 is $750,000. The projected fund balance for the end of 2014 is $598,385.

Auditor Rae Ann Tronetti, who helped compile the budget data, reviewed the budget documents with the supervisors and other township officials at the special meeting.

According to budget documents, $73,000 from the general fund will go towards winter maintenance and snow removal. Komar said the township has never been able to set aside such an allocation in past years.

Two significant expenditures listed in budget documents include a new filing system and a Geographic Information Systems mapping system for planning and zoning. Zoning Officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh explained the need for the filing system to the supervisors, calling the current system a “nightmare.”

Tronetti presented a capital reserve budget for 2014, saying that the township previously did not have one.

For 2014, the township will transfer $129,800 from its general fund to build the capital reserve account, which possibly could fund a $30,000 metal roof replacement at the municipal building, bridge repairs, other projects that arise or unexpected costs. Tronetti based the amount of the allocation on inspection reports for seven bridges from between 2012 and 2013.

Komar said creating the capital reserve will enable the township to “start building up a cash reserve, basically for a rainy day.”

Komar said he was pleased with the organized spreadsheet of the budget and appreciative of Tronetti's attention to detail, adding that the budget has not had such a level of organization in several years.

Tronetti warned officials that the township's cash balance could eventually be depleted if taxes are not raised in the future. She also expressed concern regarding the pos sibility of the township being declared a financially distressed municipality under Pennsylvania Act 47, as it has reported budget deficits for three years in a row. Komar said he is not worried at this point since the township will not have a deficit this year.

The budget will be on display at the municipal building until Dec. 27, when the board will meet again to vote on passing it.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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