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Burrell Township holds line on taxes for 2013

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Burrell Township is poised to hold the line on taxes next year, according to a tentative 2013 budget approved by the supervisors at their regular Nov. 21 meeting.

The supervisors are projecting revenues of $720,772 in the 2013 general fund budget, down from $838,021 budgeted for the current year.

The township expects to end the current year with about $160,000 remaining on hand — money that will help pay the bills until Burrell starts receiving 2013 tax payments.

Expenditures for the new year are tentatively set at $623,763, which should leave a carryover of $96,959 heading into 2014.

Other proposed fund totals included in the 2013 budget: highway aid fund, $219,139; capital reserve, $33,489.

As have other municipalities, Burrell Township has seen the liquid fuels funding it receives from the state's gasoline tax steadily dwindle in recent years. “We've lost 40 percent over the last four years,” supervisors Chairman Tony Distefano estimated following the meeting.

Still, the township is obligated to maintain its roads as well as the equipment required to complete that task.

While the supervisors have yet to determine specific roads that will be included in next year's improvements, Distefano cited Susan Drive and Snyder's Lane as likely candidates.

“Things are pretty lean right now,” Distefano noted. But, “We have to upgrade our equipment all the time.”

He indicated a 1986 Massey Ferguson mower, used to trim growth along the edges of roads, may be on its last legs.

The supervisors are planning to maintain existing township tax rates including 7.6 mills levied on real estate and other special assessments — 2 mills for fire protection and 1.1 mill to support the township hydrant fund.

Additional fees for areas that are served by street lights range from 30 cents to 70 cents per front foot of a property within the vicinity of the overhead lighting. A separate charge for businesses is assessed based on lights at the routes 2 2119 interchange.

The 2013 budget projects the following additional tax-supported funds: fire tax, $66,867; hydrant, $83,127; and street light, $35,685.

In another tax-related matter, Distefano and Supervisor Larry Henry adopted a resolution naming Berkheimer Associates as the collector of per capita and local services taxes in the township and of delinquent accounts for those taxes. Supervisor John Shields was absent.

Berkheimer already has been designated by a countywide panel to collect local earned income taxes on behalf of all municipalities in Indiana County. Distefano noted Burrell's locally elected tax collector will continue to receive payment of property taxes in the township.

As 2012 comes to a close, the supervisors are faced with reassigning the multiple roles that the late Charles Lydic filled for the township. Lydic, who passed away Nov. 8, served as the township's ordinance enforcement officer and emergency management coordinator but also pitched in in numerous other ways.

“He did a very good job for the township,” Distefano said. “We regret his passing and will miss him.”

The supervisors named Bryan Palmer, who serves as the first assistant chief of the Black Lick Volunteer Fire Department, as the township's to succeed Lydic as emergency management coordinator. Gov. Tom Corbett must officially approve the recommendation before Palmer can take on the responsibilities of the position.

Distefano said the supervisors have not yet decided what to do with the vacant ordinance enforcement position. For now, the supervisors, working with the records left by Lydic, are tracking existing cases and following up on new complaints.

They received plenty of the latter last week, as more than a half dozen residents from Marshall Heights Road attended the meeting to complain about unruly behavior, overgrown grass and trash on some of the properties in their neighborhood.

Distefano said the supervisors will do what they can to address the complaints, working within existing ordinances targeting solid waste and dangerous properties. He noted later that a letter has been sent to an owner of one of the Marshall Heights properties in question while a citation has been filed in another case in the neighborhood.

In unfinished business, the supervisors approved a subdivision plan for a proposed AutoZone store that would be located along Route 22 at the site of the former Agway outlet. The supervisors said the developer of the store is now considering purchasing the land rather than leasing it from owner Growmark FS Inc. The plan calls for a 6,815-square-foot store with 38 parking spaces and access via Lintner Road.

The supervisors accepted the resignations of Barbara Hafer and Bonnie Adair from the Burrell Township Library board. The next township meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 19.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or

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