North Irwin keeps tax rate same
Property taxes won't go up next year in North Irwin, despite a $2,000 donation to the North Irwin Volunteer Fire Company in the borough's 2013 budget.
Council approved a $161,446 spending plan, which keeps the tax rate at 19.5 mills and creates a $1,975 surplus with a 4-2 vote. Councilmen Ron Brown and Bernard Reynolds dissented, citing the contribution to the fire department.
Under the tax rate, a home with an assessed value of $25,000 would receive an annual tax bill of $375.
Reynolds said the donation to the fire department was satisfied last year, when council gave its former police car to officials to use as a first-responder vehicle in lieu of a cash contribution.
Council gave the car, a 2003 Crown Victoria, to the fire company in April upon the department's request. It used to be the borough's police vehicle. When making the request, fire chief Ron Rodgers asked that the car serve as the borough's donation to the fire company for at least two years.
Macalus said the fire department didn't request a donation this year, but she thinks a donation to the department should be built into the budget each year.
Reynolds said it didn't make sense to donate $2,000, which is greater than the borough's surplus.
The borough will eventually need to make road repairs and could need additional funds in case of a snow emergency, Reynolds said.
“We need too many things in this borough, and we're not through this winter yet,” Reynolds said. “I'm not against the firemen – I've always been with them – but $2,000 is too much when we don't have the money.
“We can't give more away than we have left over.”
While the borough should make some kind of contribution to the fire department, $2,000 might have been too much, Brown said. Instead, he suggested cutting back to $1,000.
“It's not that we don't want to give them money, it's just about the numbers,” Brown said.
Following Brown's suggestion, council President Kim Macalus said she did not want to cut the donation back.
She described the discussion of the donation as “a nightmare.”
“I'm not doing that,” Macalus said. “It's already been included (in the budget), and all through the papers.”
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.