Irwin taxes expected to hold steady; sewage rates to rise
By Brad Pedersen
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
Irwin residents can expect their property tax rate to stay the same in 2013, although sewage rates are expected to go up.
Council last week passed a $3.03 million balanced budget that keeps the borough's tax rate steady at 15 mills.
Manager Mary Benko said she credits frugal spending and planning for the 2013 budget, which nearly mirrors the 2012 budget.
“Council's been very diligent about holding the line on expenses,” Benko said.
Under the current real estate tax rate, a home with an assessed value of $50,000 receives an annual $750 tax bill from the borough.
Each mill generates about $29,000 in revenue for the borough.
Residents can expect an increase of about $15 per quarter in their sewer bills from the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority, or WWMA.
The increase, which authority officials expect to discuss and approve on Dec. 20, will be used to make improvements to decrease storm-water overflows at its treatment plant, which was mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, Benko said.
Council President John Cassandro said the upgrades could cost the authority between $10 and $50 million, with the expense being passed onto its ratepayers for the next several years.
“Our rates could double or possibly triple because of this,” Cassandro said.
Councilwoman Peggy Watson said Irwin Council had no control over the rate increase. Council must include the rate increase in the 2013 budget for collection purposes only, she said.
“It's not us – it's the Department of Environmental Protection making the mandate to WWMA,” Watson said. “This is going to be collected everywhere in the WWMA's territory.”
Councilman Bob Wayman, Irwin's representative on the WWMA bill, said residents will not see the change until their quarterly bill in March.
Council expects to approve the final 2013 budget and WWMA sewage rate increase during its Dec. 12 meeting.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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