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Plum preliminary budget for 2014 looks balanced

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum Borough staff a year ago worked to trim a $1 million deficit from the 2013 preliminary budget.

The situation is brighter this year, said Councilman Michael Dell, finance committee chairman, during Monday night's meeting.

Dell said cuts will not be necessary in the 2014 preliminary budget that is at $12.3 million.

“It is a balanced budget,” Dell said. “There is no proposed tax increase and zero increase in fees (proposed).”

Dell said unlike several years ago, the borough's fund balance is about $2 million.

The last borough real estate tax increase was 1 mill in 2008. The millage is 4.3. A mill generates about $1 million.

With money in the coffers, the borough plans to spend about $2 million in 2014 on street paving projects and road improvements, Dell said.

Manager Michael Thomas said the figure represents about a 5 percent increase in spending for the projects over the current year.

Of the $2 million, about $180,000 is being earmarked for repairs to Millers Lane in the Regency area of the borough, according to assistant Manager Greg Bachy.

The road has uneven pavement along the mile-long stretch. Also, the Plum Borough Municipal Authority dug trenches to install water lines on the upper portion of the road, Councilman Leonard Szarmach, public works committee chairman, has said.

The authority paved over the area where the trenches were dug creating an uneven surface.

“It is one of the worst roads in the borough,” Szarmach said.

“The whole thing needs to be paved,” Bachy said. “And there are storm-sewer issues.”

The cost to repair the road, estimated at more than $1 million, makes it a challenge to do in one paving season.

Bachy said Engineer Robert Mitall is working on a preliminary design of work on the road utilizing the $180,000.

Complicating the Millers Lane repairs is the fact that the Plum School Board hasn't made a decision about the future of Regency Park Elementary School located near the bottom portion of Millers Lane.

Regency Park enrolls the fewest students — about 240 — among the district's five elementary buildings.

If the school remains open, the borough's recommendation calls for installing sidewalks and flashing school-zone lights, which would increase costs.

Plum School Board President Andrew Drake has said a decision about Regency Park is at least a couple of years away.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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