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Jefferson Hills to give budget funds thorough review

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

Jefferson Hills Borough Council members have given themselves additional time to review the 2014 budget.

“This is an option we have during election years,” said Christopher King, council president, as the group plans to take a closer look.

Having reopened the budget on Jan. 14, members will review the funds allotted to ongoing and upcoming projects and consider amending the budget by January's end. Council must meet a Feb. 15 deadline to make changes and reopen the budget.

But just because the budget has been reopened doesn't mean there will be changes or a millage increase, King said.

Residents haven't had an increase in the property-tax rate in 10 years.

“We've tried to increase services to borough residents and not raise taxes,” King said.

For 2014, the $400,000 in capital-improvement funds might not be enough to keep the borough moving forward, especially on plans for recreation and the continuation of the public-works building project, King said. From a community survey, council learned residents were interested in upgrades to the parks, more fields and better parking, he said.

If officials stick to the recreation comprehensive plan, improvements would be completed in an eight- to 10 year phase-in, at a cost of $3 million to $4 million.

This additional time will allow Wayne Jones, the borough's relatively new financial officer, to review the numbers. To balance the 2014 $8.7 million budget, $900,000 was taken from the reserve fund. Jones said. Approximately $3 million is left.

Yet, going forward, options need to be reviewed, King said.

“We want to deliver on improving the borough,” he said. “We want to look at everything.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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