No tax increase planned for Donegal Township
By A.J. Panian
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Donegal Township supervisors recently voted to adopt the municipality's tentative 2014 budget, which calls for no real estate tax increase.
The $678,400 spending plan will be open to public review until Nov. 12, the date of the board's next public meeting, when supervisors are likely to vote to officially adopt the plan.
The board balanced the budget despite a decrease in revenue through Act 13, which compensates municipalities for allowing Marcellus shale natural gas drilling within or their borders, said Tom Stull, the board's chairman.
The payment to the township associated with the fee shrank from $89,000 in 2012 to $69,067 in 2013. The tentative 2014 budget projects $50,000 in income for the fee.
“That made it more difficult to balance the budget,” Stull said.
The board has not yet heard the amount of the fee if the number of drill sites in the township increases, Stull said.
”It's a learning curve. In the future, maybe it will go back up,” Stull said.
The board used the 2012 fee, combined with liquid fuels funding allocated to the township by the state, to absorb a “larger-than-normal” amount of road material costs required due to this year's rash of heavy rains and flooding, Stull said.
“We did 9 miles' worth of oil chipping this past year, and we spent $13,000 for asphalt for what we had to repair due to damage wrought by the heavy rains,” Stull said.
During public comment, Donegal Elementary teacher Michele Buckles thanked the board for approving a $600 purchase of fire prevention materials which were dispensed to the school, along with the Donegal Head Start Center and Champion Christian Elementary School, by Bob Frye, president of Chestnut Ridge Fire Department.
“It's really been a big help,” Buckles said.
The board amended the ordinance to allow for the purchase of an additional $266 worth of the equipment for distribution at the schools.
“If it saves one person, it's well worth it,” Stull said.
Bev Braverman, executive director of the Mountain Watershed Association, thanked the board for its efforts to transport limestone from Saltlick Township in Fayette County to Donegal Township for placement on the Indian Creek Valley Trail.
“It's been a really great partnership,” Braverman said.
In other business, the board voted to:
• Approve a 2013-14 snow plowing contract with Steele Construction for snow clearance on Camp Run, Painter Rock and Firetower roads.
• Approve “Trick-or-Treat Night” for the township for 2-4 p.m. Oct. 26.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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