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Public meeting set on preliminary Plum budget

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum Borough's preliminary budget for 2014 holds the line on taxes and fees.

“There is no proposed property tax increase or proposed fee increases,” borough finance director Michael Whitico said during a budget presentation at last week's work session.

Whitico told council members total revenue in the preliminary budget is projected at $11.9 million. Projected expenditures are estimated at $12.1 million.

Whitico said the initial projected expenditure amount was close to $12.7 million after borough department heads submitted their budget requests.

The finance director said the borough administration cut $550,000 from the requests, which resulted in the projected $12.1 million.

Also, the budget proposal calls for transferring $70,000 from the general fund to the fire fund and $112,000 to the debt-service fund, which results in a total projected deficit of $407,147.

Whitico said the actual deficit is anticipated to be around $224,000 after deducting the $182,000 that represents the transfers to the fire fund and the debt-service fund.

Councilman Michael Dell, finance-committee chairman, said the projected $224,000 deficit would be gleaned from the general-fund surplus that he anticipates will contain about $1.1 million at the end of 2014.

Dell said a $70,000 transfer from the general fund to the fire fund would be used to pay for expenses including insurance, worker's compensation and hydrant fees.

The borough pays for these costs for the four volunteer fire departments. The money also would be used to pay for loans for fire trucks.

The borough assists the departments on a rotating basis with purchasing apparatus.

The current property-tax rate in Plum is 3.78 mills. A mill generates a little more than $1 million.

The preliminary spending plan also calls for a 108-percent increase from 2013 to 2014 in parks and recreation spending to undertake a variety of projects, including reconstruction of the soccer fields at Larry Mills Park and replacement of the play structure at the playground and improvements to the eight borough baseball fields located off Ross Hollow Road.

The information-technology department also gets a 23-percent funding increase, or $30,000 more over 2013, to pay for compliance with required license agreements for software, Whitico said.

Also, the preliminary budget includes $650,000 for road construction.

Borough manager Michael Thomas said $300,000 of the $650,000 is being earmarked for a project on Millers Lane, which is estimated to need more than $1 million in work.

“We had budgeted $180,000 for Millers Lane,” Thomas said. “We have increased the amount to $300,000.”

Dell said residents will see the effects of more money allocated for road improvements and upgrades to the borough parks.

Council is expected to take public comment on the budget draft during the 6:30 p.m. work session Dec. 3. A vote on the 2014 budget is expected during the 7 p.m. council meeting Dec. 9, Thomas said.

The meetings will be at the borough building, 4575 New Texas Road.

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