ShareThis Page

McKeesport plans budget with no tax hike

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 3:52 a.m.
Equipped with sophisticated meters and plastic jugs for gathering samples, members of Mon River and 3 Rivers QUEST teams test water quality on a bi-weekly basis. Eric Slagle | Daily News

As McKeesport prepares to adopt a $17.9 million budget for 2013, Mayor Michael Cherepko has vowed to end the 2012 fiscal year with all city invoices paid up to date.

During a Tuesday budget hearing and caucus session, Cherepko clarified minor changes to amounts and typographical errors that were included in a budget message that was distributed to council in November.

The 2013 spending plan is balanced at $17,987,122.85, with no increase planned for the property tax rate of 4.26 mills on buildings and 16.5 mills on land.

Council President Darryl Segina said he believes council has no opposition to the budget, especially after hearing the mayor's explanation of the revisions. Earned income tax monies were increased on the revenue side, and the police budget was increased on the expenditure side to include accurate time for court appearances.

“We are going to monitor this very clearly,” Cherepko said. “The nice part is, I think, that (city administrator Matt Gergely) and myself have a better understanding of where the money is coming from and where it is going.”

The mayor and administrator were new to city hall in 2012, as this has been the first year of Cherepko's elected four-year term. While Cherepko had served as council president in previous years, it was a different experience, because councilors approve a prepared budget rather than take an active role in its development.

Cherepko said he didn't realize how many bills often go unpaid from year to year, noting the administration still is paying bills including the deductibles of insurance claims from years past.

“We are not going to carry over any bills,” he said. “We are going to pay every bill we have, and that includes bills that we still haven't paid from last year.”

The mayor is counting on council's transfer of $500,000 from the mayor's reserve fund to the general fund to help cover the cost of payments such as the minimum municipal obligation to city pensions before the year's end.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.