Brentwood board to tackle ambitious agenda with small tax hike
Adjustments to the proposed 2014 Brentwood Borough budget has prompted a reduction in a planned millage increase for residents next year.
Borough officials, who initially planned to raise taxes by 2.5 mills in an effort to help finance capital projects, now anticipate raising taxes by 1.25 mills for 2014, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said.
“Even though we do have a lot of capital improvements that have been going on in the last year, there are still more planned,” he said. “It's about prioritizing.”
The proposed $7 million general fund budget includes a projected millage increase from 7.5 to 8.75 for next year. That would equal roughly a $8.30 per month tax increase — or $100 per year — for the median homeowner, assessed at $80,000, Zboyovsky said. One mill in Brentwood equals about $400,000.
Brentwood Council is expected to vote on the preliminary budget at its Nov. 26 meeting, with the final budget passage set for Dec. 10.
The proposed tax increase still will help to finance a capital improvement plan that will include a $700,000 road program, the start of a storm system management program, police and public works vehicle replacements and architectural services for a municipal building overhaul project in 2014, the manager said.
Reducing the proposed millage increase was important, Zboyovsky said, to “make it easier for the residents to swallow.”
To help reduce costs, officials opted to eliminate a planned upgrade of traffic signals for the Marylea and Brownsville Road and East and West Francis and Brownsville Road intersections from the 2014 budget.
Brentwood officials had applied for a roughly $440,000 Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission regional traffic program matching grant to help fund the project, Zboyovsky said. Yet, the borough would have to spend about $300,000 to finance its portion.
“There were too many ifs,” Zboyovsky said. “The best-case scenario is that we are awarded that grant. Then, council would have to decide where to get that $300,000.”
Another reduction in the proposed budget was in health insurance rate premiums for the borough's 30 employees.
Zboyovsky said he had budgeted a planned 20 percent increase in costs, but found that a renewal of the borough's UPMC plan would trigger a 93.7 percent increase to $426,000 in 2014.
Officials reviewed plans from five companies and are now looking at a high deductible plan that would come with an 8 percent increase in premiums next year, costing the borough $257,000 in 2014, Zboyovsky said.
“That little change there was a (big) savings,” he said.
Zboyovsky also said he reduced the planned amount borough officials were going to spend in 2014 on the start of a storm water management program by about $40,000 — now budgeted at $82,000.
Breaking out the numbers, the if the increase in taxes are approved, the millage would be divided as follows in 2014: .5 mills would go to the Brentwood Public Library; 5.57 would be sent on public safety, 2.52 mills would be spent on capital improvements and .16 mills would be left for the general budget.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Primary roundup: 2 West Jefferson Hills board members ousted
- Baldwin-Whitehall district schedules summer camps
- South Hills communities to host Memorial Day events
- Whitehall’s ‘Extreme Summer Kick-Off’ set for May 30
- Baldwin-Whitehall preliminary budget has $2.5M deficit
- Baldwin-Whitehall considers adding police officer in school buildings
- Brentwood Council makes it official with new police chief
- Baldwin-Whitehall service employees finally get new contract
- Brentwood administrators help school district by taking 25 percent off their raises
- Former wrestling champ tells Brentwood students about making choices
- Ferris ‘done’ with Baldwin Borough council