Latrobe council warned: Raise revenue somehow
Latrobe Council Monday approved a $5.03 million budget that holds the line on real estate taxes for the third consecutive year, but not before receiving a warning that the city must take steps to increase revenue or face financial problems in a about a decade.
“This is a lean budget. There is not a lot of fat,” City Manager Alexander Graziani told city council. Any additional reductions in the budget would result in a cut “to the marrow,” he added.
The budget that council approved for 2013 is balanced with a real estate tax levy of 21.5 mills, which is expected to generate $1.37 million, or 27 percent of all revenue. The city dedicates 0.2 mill to the Adams Memorial Library, which is about $13,300, and provides an additional $20,000 contribution.
The 2013 budget is only $39,965 higher than the 2012 budget and Graziani stated in his budget report that it is “a struggle to keep expenditures equal to revenue.”
The city anticipates balancing the budget with a transfer of about $98,000 from a $550,000 surplus Latrobe expects to have on Jan. 1, Graziani said. The transfer into the general fund is necessary because of a projected revenue shortfall of $103,250, Graziani said. The manager said, however, that he made the revenue projections lean. For 2012, the city should receive about $125,000 more in revenue than was anticipated in the budget.
The budget council approved is slightly higher than the $4,997,040 draft budget it received from Graziani last week.
Latrobe should be concerned that it is heading down a path of fiscal insolvency faced by other cities — such as Reading, Johnstown and Pittsburgh — if changes are not made within the decade.
“If we keep the fees and the taxes the same, we will be in Act 47,” the law permitting the state to enact a recovery plan for financially distressed communities. It needs to make structural changes and should look to increasing revenue from both government and non-government entities, he said.
The city needs to increase the profits it generates from the operation of its waste transfer station.
The sanitation department contributes 34 percent of the city's budgetary revenue.
Latrobe should create a structure for nonprofit businesses, such as Excela Health, to make payments in lieu of taxes.
Such an initiative likely would have to be done in conjunction with other municipalities where Excela Health has hospitals, such as Greensburg and Mt. Pleasant, and in North Huntingdon, where it has an outpatient center.
“I would strongly pursue that,” Graziani said.
The city should update its fee structure for the planning services it provides, Graziani said.
The city's financial picture was better than projected because it approved a one-year contract with its current refuse hauler, Allied Waste Services of Scottdale, for $678,581.
Residential customers currently pay $40 per quarter and the charge is not expected to increase.
The hauler will handle commercial waste, as well as recyclables.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70
- 2 Greensburg properties left on demo list
- Greensburg streetlights to be updated, save city $90K
- Jeannette trudges through blight
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- $2,000 donated for abused puppies recovering at South Huntingdon shelter
- Penn Park project moves forward
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Indiana County school employee allegedly showed 2 students an inappropriate photo
- Forbes: Church to sponsor homemade Italian dinner
- Keystone Bakery closes Greensburg store