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Derry holds tax line, boosts road work

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Derry Township's supervisors have approved a proposed 2013 township budget totaling $2,941,150, up by about $300,000 from the current year's spending plan.

Speaking to reporters after their monthly meeting Wednesday, the supervisors indicated much of that increase will be covered by funding the township expects to receive through impact fees the state assesses on about 50 Marcellus shale gas wells that exist in the municipality. That means the township's property tax rate will stay put at 3 mills, where it has been for a number of years.

Vince DeCario, chairman of the supervisors, indicated much of the new impact fee revenue is earmarked for road and bridge projects. He noted the supervisors had budgeted $476,000 for such work this year, but they spent an extra $200,000 in anticipation of the initial impact fee allocation the township will receive next month.

“We wouldn't have been able to spend as much on roads without it,” DeCario said of the new revenue stream.

Accordingly, $651,000 is budgeted for highways and bridges in 2013.

Among the projects being eyed is replacement of a deteriorating bridge on Bradenville School Road with a new box culvert. “It's losing its foundation,” Supervisor Daniel Rullo said of the existing span.

While the impact fee revenue appears to be a plus for the township, DeCario pointed out it could be offset by a decrease in other state funding sources, including liquid fuels money generated by the gasoline tax.

Mark Piantine, chief of the Bradenville-based Derry Township Volunteer Fire Department, suggested the township consider using some of the impact fee funding to help the firefighters obtain new equipment.

He said the department would like to purchase an aerial truck for use in responding to gas well incidents or other major fires, rather than relying on such units responding form other area communities.

Piantine said, without some financial help, the department could not afford the $600,000 cost for such a vehicle. He noted money generated through his department's annual fund drive has remained flat in recent years, at about $40,000 to $45,000.

DeCario asked Piantine to submit a list of equipment needs for the supervisors to consider.

Piantine also reported his department will celebrate its 75th anniversary with festivities June 13-15 including a parade, band performances and fireworks.

In other business, the supervisors agreed to increase the township indebtedness by $45,000, in the form of a loan for a 2012 Ford F-550 4x4 truck the township has purchased.

DeCario announced that township crews will pick up leaves residents place at the curbside on Friday and Nov. 16. Residents should call the township office to schedule pick-up of their leaves.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459, ext. 2910 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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