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Balanced Penn Hills budget includes new police vehicles

| Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Penn Hills officials are considering a $47 million budget for 2014, and while revenue is estimated at $40 million for next year no property tax increase is expected, municipal Manager Moe Rayan said.

The tax rate would remain at the current level of 5.444 mills, or $544 on a $100,000 property. Penn Hills balanced its budget partly by carrying over just under $10.9 million from the current year.

Rayan said general revenue for 2013 was about $669,000 higher than expected, and expenditures are expected to be below the budgeted 2013 amount by more than $2.8 million. As of late October, Rayan said, the projected year-end general fund balance was roughly $6.7 million.

As part of their current contract, police will receive a 3.25 percent raise in 2014. Municipal officials still are in negotiations with unions representing municipal employees, school crossing guards and emergency responders; however, a 3 percent increase has been proposed for all non-union, management and non-management employees.

Major purchases in 2014 will include new vehicles for the manager and police chief, four new K-9 unit patrol vehicles, two new patrol cars, one unmarked police car, an ambulance, a five-ton plow/spreader truck, a roadway sweeper, a tub grinder, a bucket loader and playground equipment.

The general fund balance, Rayan estimated, would be around $2.2 million at the end of 2014.

The capital improvement budget lays out just under $330,000 for smaller projects.

Rayan was asked during a meeting last week about plans for the position of fire marshal, which has been vacant since Jack Mason, a veteran of three decades, retired in the summer of 2012.

Rayan's budget proposal includes a $48,000 salaried position for a fire marshal, as well as the purchase of $250 in equipment.

However, Mayor Anthony DeLuca said he and Rayan have talked about “changing the position around,” and that they still are discussing it with Penn Hills fire chiefs. Neither would elaborate on possible changes.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845.

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