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No tax increase expected in Fayette's budget

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Fayette County commissioners will introduce a tentative 2013 budget next week.

During an agenda meeting on Tuesday, commissioners agreed to vote on the proposed spending plan when they meet at 10 a.m. Nov. 21.

Dollar figures on revenue and expenses were not available on Tuesday because the board is still gathering information, said Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky.

Commissioner Al Ambrosini said he does not anticipate a tax increase. Noting taxes were increased by 1 mill in 2012, Zapotosky said he will not support another increase in 2013.

Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, who opposed the 2012 increase, could not be reached for comment after the meeting.

Zapotosky said the board will have to find a way to fund a number of significant expenses without raising taxes, including an estimated $1.4 million for the annual retirement-fund contribution.

The 2012 increase set millage at 4.51448. With the average assessment at $50,000, the 1-mill increase cost most taxpayers $50, according to former chief tax assessor Jim Hercik.

In other matters, commissioners next week will consider ratifying a new labor contract with the union that represents Children and Youth Services workers, SEIU Local 668.

Dominick Carnicella, human resources director, said the agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2014.

The contract covers about 35 employees and calls for 3 percent annual pay increases, Carnicella said. Employees will see a half-percent increase in their health care premiums, he said.

The health care premium increase will jump another 2 percent for employees who do not complete a wellness program through the insurer, Highmark, Carnicella said. The wellness program calls for employees to fill out health questionnaires, undergo preventive exams, and participate in programs such as smoking cessation.

In a related matter, commissioners will consider approving the Behavioral Health Administration's 2013 compensation plan. Effective for one year, the plan calls for 3 percent pay increases, Carnicella said.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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