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Connellsville studies possible revenues sources for 2014 budget

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 8:39 p.m.

Connellsville Councilman Brad Geyer said Wednesday he hopes after a fourth budget meeting planned for Monday that council will have a proposed balanced budget to present at its regular meeting on Nov. 20.

On Wednesday, council along with Mayor-elect Greg Lincoln and Connellsville City Treasurer Judy Keller met for a third time to go over budget figures.

Revenue coming into the city was examined and adjusted during the hour and half meeting.

Changes were made to the biggest revenue source, the real estate taxes.

Real estate taxes are made up of three parts in the budget: the current year levy, the prior year levy and the delinquent levy.

The current year levy, which is the money the city expects to collect for the year, currently remains the same as this year at $959,516.42. As of Nov. 13, the city received $893.385.97.

Geyer, who is the city's director of finances, said that number could change if council votes to increase the millage rate.

Prior year levy, which is the money the city processes right after the Christmas holiday, was reduced from $30,000 to $25,000. It was budgeted this year for $30,000, but the city had only received $14,078.73 as of Nov. 13.

“I don't think we'll get $30,000,” Keller said. “Maybe $25,000 might be more realistic.”

The delinquent levy, which are the late taxes collected by the tax-claim office for the prior year and earlier, was raised from $120,000 to $125,000. This year, $120,000 was budgeted and the city has received $128,211.10 as of Nov. 13 and received $138,640 in 2012 when the city only budgeted $120,000.

The earned income tax, the flat rate of one percent of an employee's earnings collected by the Southwest Regional Tax Bureau, was reduced from $550,000 to $500,000 for next year.

In 2011, the city budgeted for $570,000 but only received $422,374.17; $550,000 was budgeted in 2012, but the city only brought in $367,579.36. In 2013, the city again budgeted $550,000 and as of Nov. 13 it has only received $347,247.89.

Keller said a check for $18,000 will be deposited in a couple of days for the earned income tax and the city will be getting only one more check from the SWRTB to be deposited on Dec. 15, but she doesn't know what amount that check will be.

“It's not coming in at any great amount,” Keller said, suggesting council look at the past few years of actual money coming into the city and determine an average and set the anticipated earned income tax around that figure rather than estimating the city will receive $44,000 per month.

“We'll set it at 500 ($500,000) for now,” Geyer said. “We still have time to look through this.”

Other changes made to the budget on the revenue side included reducing the anticipated amount of the residence tax and per capita tax for the current year from $12,000 to $11,000 and increasing the prior year residence tax and per capita tax from $1,200 to $2,200; reducing the anticipated mechanical device tax from $31,000 to $20,000; raising the cable television franchise revenue from $110,000 to $115,000 because rates will be raised next year; and reducing the sale of property and supplies from $15,000 to $5,000 because the city only sold between seven and eight properties, but Geyer and Councilman Gregory Rich agreed that it was a practice they want to keep going next year.

Geyer said there is still research that must be done on some line items in the budget including donations, school board reimbursements and the business privilege taxes, however, he said he thought they were close to having all revenues and expenditure totals finalized.

He said at Monday's budget meeting any necessary changes can be made in order to have a proposed budget ready for Nov. 20.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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