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Greensburg council gives employees raises, doesn't raise property taxes

| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Greensburg City Council adopted a 2013 budget on Monday with no hike in property taxes and raises for employees.

In a 3-2 vote, council approved the overall $24.43 million budget. Council members Kathleen McCormick and Bill Eger voted no.

Millage stays at 25.05 mills, with 17.05 mills earmarked for the $11.29 million general fund and 8 mills to the sinking fund, which is used to pay off long-term debt. A mill raises about $131,000.

Nonunion employees will receive raises of between 3 percent and 5 percent, said City Administrator Sue Trout.

Police will get a 4 percent raise, and members of Teamsters Local 30 get a 2.5 percent raise, both set by contracts.

One employee will receive an 8 percent raise “in conjunction with some job duty changes,” Trout said.

The employee, whose salary jumps to $28,500 annually, will serve as an assistant to Robert Charley, parking facilities manager, and be on call, city officials said.

McCormick said she voted against the budget and related motion setting salaries because she favored no more than a 3 percent, across-the-board raise for employees.

Many taxpayers are getting no raises or smaller raises than city employees, she added.

“How can I justify these kind of raises,” McCormick said.

In addition, the councilwoman said she is concerned that the sale of 100-108 S. Pennsylvania Ave. by the city hasn't been finalized but is included in the budget as revenue. McCormick further expressed concerns about rising pension and insurance costs.

“It's on course,” solicitor Bernard McArdle said later of the sale of the South Pennsylvania Avenue property that houses five stores and two parking lots.

The prospective buyer appears to qualify for financing, he added.

“I see no reason it should be derailed,” McArdle added.

The related contract calls for closing to occur by Jan. 15.

Last month, council approved the sale to attorneys Gregory C. Moore and Lawrence F. Becker III and asked McArdle to finalize the deal.

The city has owned the property since the 1970s. Mayor Ron Silvis and council members said they wanted to sell because they don't believe city government should own rental property. Having the real estate created added work for staff, they added.

In another matter, council unanimously granted Columbia Greensburg SPE's request to pay a lump sum of $94,869 as part of a tax appeal settlement, rather than making 24 payments of $4,160 each, or a total $99,862.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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