Irwin council takes a look at 2013 budget

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

Irwin council hopes to get an early start on the 2013 borough budget by planning several possible expenditures.

Council looked into three looming expenses that might need to be addressed during the 2013 budget – a new public-works dump truck, a new police car and repairs to the public-works facility's steel roof.

Police Chief Joe Pocsatko said he hopes to replace the department's unmarked 2004 Chevrolet. The vehicle has about 89,000 miles and is in the worst shape of the department's four-car fleet, he said.

“That car is dying,” Pocsatko said. “We want to stagger car purchases, so they come every other year, so we can keep a current fleet.”

The borough's last police car was purchased in 2011.

Pocsatko estimated a new unmarked police car could cost between $28,000 and $32,500.

Public-works department officials plans to delay purchasing a new dump truck until 2014, said Jim Halfhill, public works director.

The bed of the department's current dump truck has a hole in it due to rust caused by road salt, Halfhill said.

The department covered the hole with a piece of metal, which was welded in place, Halfhill said.

Council President John Cassandro said borough officials should be saving up to purchase a new dump truck, which could cost as much as $75,000.

“If we don't start saving, we're not going to have the money when we really have to have it,” he said. “

Halfhill suggested looking for a used dump truck from the South, where it is not exposed to snow or rock salt.

If the borough purchased a used dump truck, Halfhill said they could get just as much mileage out of it as a new truck.

Cassandro agreed and explained the condition of a new dump truck could deteriorate rapidly after being used for two or three seasons.

“It just takes a beating plowing the roads,” Cassandro said. “It doesn't make sense to buy a new one.”

The roof on the public works building also needs some work next year, Halfhill said.

The rivets and bolts holding down the 20-year-old stainless steel roof on the public works facility were not stainless steel or aluminum and have decayed, Halfhill said.

Each one needs to be removed, and the area around it needs to be sanded and painted before a new one can be installed, he said.

“If we don't do this, we're going to lose the roof, because rust is going to set in,” Halfhill said.

Halfhill expects employees of the public-works department could remove and replace the rivets and bolts and contractors could repair and repaint areas around the bolts. That would drop the estimated cost of the project from about $15,000 to about $7,500 to $10,000, Halfhill said.

Last year, council passed a $2.9 million budget, which did not include a tax-rate increase, leaving the real estate tax rate at 15 mills.

Under the current real estate tax rate, a home with an assessed value of $50,000 will receive a yearly $750 tax bill from the borough. Each mill generates about $30,000.

Although council has not provided any budget estimates, Councilwoman Gail Macioce said this year could be a tough budgeting cycle.

“Some of these numbers aren't too pretty to look at,” she said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or

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