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Rostraver, West Newton area municipalities keep tax rates in check for 2014

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Area municipalities are planning to operate their governments in 2014 without raising local real estate taxes.

Rostraver Township will continue to levy a 15-mill real estate tax to support its $5.09 million budget — the largest budget among local municipalities in the most populous municipality — 11,600 people spread over 36 square miles.

Evidence of Rostraver's residential and commercial growth can be seen in the money it receives from just 1 mill of property tax — about $154,000 in revenue.

The township started the new year with a surplus of almost $400,000 and the 2014 budget does not reduce any services.

The Rostraver Township Commissioners created a budget reserve of about $200,000 for unanticipated expenses.

In West Newton, borough council approved a general fund budget of $787,815 for 2014, an increase of about $11,000 from the 2013 budget.

The budget maintains the real estate tax rate at 15 mills. The borough receives about $18,000 from each mill of real estate tax it levies, said Pamela Humenik, borough secretary.

West Newton started the year with a fund balance of about $500,000, Humenik told council during its Jan. 6 meeting.

Councilman Tony Berarducci had questioned whether the budget had a 1-mill increase for road repairs, but council opted to keep taxes at the same rate.

Sutersville residents will continue to pay a local real estate tax of 8 mills, the same rate they have been paying for many years.

Council approved a 2014 budget of $312,553 that increases spending by 18 percent from the 2013 spending plan of $264,709. Real estate taxes, as well as other taxes, remain the same in 2014.

Valerie Converso, borough secretary, said the revenue from taxes will increase by about $10,000 to $71,680. The borough is not planning any major spending projects in 2014, Converso said.

Sutersville anticipates spending almost $45,000 on road maintenance, the single highest expenditure.

Smithton Borough Council approved a balanced budget of $133,000 based on a tax rate of 16 mills on real estate. In tiny Smithton, a 1-mill real estate tax levy generates only $2,200.

The budget does give the borough police officers a 50-cents-an-hour raise. It also increases the budgeted patrol hours for Smithton to 35 per week, up from 30 in 2013.

South Huntingdon Township's budget for 2014 keeps the tax rate at 4 mills for its $1.62 million budget that is about the same as last year, said Cindy Thorne, township secretary.

Thorne said the township plans to buy equipment for the road department with some of the $218,321 in Marcellus shale impact fees that the state distributed to South Huntingdon for 2012.

Madison Borough operates on a budget of only $100,000 for a government serving about 400 people, said Patricia Walt, borough secretary. There is a slight increase in the borough budget for 2014, because the borough anticipates getting an additional $10,000 in wage tax revenue from its tax collector, Walt said.

Madison Council's tax levy of 6 mills has not changed in about 30 years, Walt said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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