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Residents getting best of budget alterations in Baldwin Borough

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Sewage rates likely will remain the same in 2014 for Baldwin Borough residents, as the municipality's budget is able to absorb a possible 17-percent rate increase proposed by Alcosan.

The real-estate tax rate, too, likely will hold steady next year, even as borough officials add new amenities for residents.

Council members at their Nov. 19 meeting agreed to advertise the borough's preliminary budget for 2014 that includes a $9.8 million general fund and $5.5 million sewer fund.

The real-estate tax rate is set to hold at 5.41 mills.

Council members are scheduled to vote on the final budget at their Dec. 17 meeting.

The 2014 budget includes a capital-improvement program that outlines spending for borough projects in the next five years, including $800,000 in road improvements for 2014.

Included in the budget was the start of a five-year garbage and recycling collection contract with Waste Management that begins in January. The contract is budgeted to cost Baldwin $1.1 million in 2014, an estimated $233,000 in savings compared to 2013, borough manager John Barrett said.

The savings is due to the borough's elimination of 1,700 apartment units from its new contract, Barrett said. The contract bills the borough on a per-ton basis, instead of per-unit like previous contracts, the manager said.

The contract will include a new feature — household hazardous-waste collection — which will allow residents to have pickup service for hazardous materials that cannot be put out for regular collection.

For the hazardous-waste program, fliers will be distributed to all residents in the borough explaining the program.

A resident who would have an item for pickup, starting next year, either would go online, call an 800 number or send an email to request an appointment.

A bag would be mailed to the home so the item in need of disposal could be placed in it. Then, it would be picked up from the front door of a person's home.

This is one of many new options explored in the South Hills Area Council of Governments' purchasing alliance, which Baldwin Borough participated in, this year.

The program will come at no cost to the residents, Barrett said.

“If you have a TV at home, wait until January, and there will be a way to get rid of it,” Barrett said.

Other changes in the borough's budget from last year include plans for sharing a recreation director with Brentwood, budgeted at $15,000 in Baldwin. Baldwin Borough does not have that position.

The budget would increase Baldwin's contribution to nonprofit Economic Development South from $1,000 to $2,500.

Borough officials have budgeted $9,300 in 2014 for all community events, instead of committing $7,500 to the borough's community day, $1,300 for the Halloween event, and $500 for civic and military activities.

“Council is leaving the door open to influence these events,” Barrett said.

As for the borough's sewage fund, the Pleasant Hills Authority paid off $500,000 in debt service between 2012 and 2013. This allowed the borough to keep sewage rates steady for 2014, despite Alcosan's proposed 17-percent rate increase, which equals about $300,000 for Baldwin, Barrett said.

“We were able to absorb the increase,” Barrett said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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