Monroeville Council approved 0.5-mill tax hike
Monroeville Council approved a $27 million budget Tuesday night after officials eliminated a number of proposed budget items and approved a real-estate tax hike.
Council voted 6-1 in favor of a 0.5-mill property-tax increase, which sets the 2013 tax rate at 2.38 mills. Because of reassessments, the tax hike will require approval from an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge. Officials say they expect a ruling by next month.
Councilman Bernhard Erb voted against the tax increase.
The tax hike will translate into an extra $50 in taxes for a home assessed at $100,000. The total Monroeville tax bill for a $100,000 assessment would be about $240.
Councilwoman Diane Allison proposed the millage increase — which is less than the millage increase originally proposed — in addition to reducing the emergency reserve fund from 10 percent to 7.5 percent of the total budget. It is recommended by financial experts that municipalities maintain an emergency fund between 5 and 15 percent of the total budget.
“I don't think that if anyone is looking at a tax increase, that all the burden should go to the taxpayers,” Allison said.
Council also approved the elimination of the following items from the proposed 2013 budget to reduce expenditures and balance the budget:
• $100,000 for fire suppression
• $78,600 for a municipal planning director
• $69,500 for a marketing/information technology specialist at the library
• $25,000 for engineering costs
• $10,000 for municipal parades in 2013, which will instead be funded by the convention and visitor's bureau
• $2,500 traffic signals
Erb urged council to eliminate the Monroeville dispatch center and shift that service to the county level, which he said provides a duplicate service. He said the move would save the municipality more than $500,000 this year. He defended the suggestion by saying Monroeville dispatchers have assigned emergencies to first responders already treating a patient, therefore delaying their response time, a practice that is prohibited at the county.
“We have stacked and delayed calls by five minutes in the last six months, including at least one cardiac patient,” Erb said.
He said neighboring municipalities where residents rely on a county dispatch center are afforded a better fire insurance rating for homeowners, based on recent reports from the Insurance Service Office.
Council voted 6-2 to keep the dispatch center. Council members Lois Drumheller and Erb voted to eliminate it.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.