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Derry Borough eyes 2.25-mill tax hike

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 3:09 p.m.

Derry Borough property owners could face a 2.25-mill tax hike under a tentative 2014 spending plan council agreed to advertise for final action in December.

The increase would take the levy on real estate to 30 mills, the maximum rate permitted by law.

The higher tax would help support a proposed budget totaling $874,767, which represents an increase of about $18,000 compared to the 2013 budget.

Council members indicated the millage hike is necessary to maintain borough operations. Councilman Allen Skopp noted it should enable the borough to avoid laying off any of its employees.

“We have cut everything we can cut,” said budget committee member Nelie Smith.

The fiscal plan calls for trimming overall police spending from the current year's total of $191,369 to $182,819.

The lower amount is about the same that was available to cover police expenditures in 2012, a fact that caused some concern for Mayor David Bolen.

“It's going to be tight,” he said of the reduced budget for 2014, which accounts for pay increases for officers.

He said he would “do the best I can” to work within the budgeted spending limit, but added, “Public safety comes first.”

Council members noted they're doing their part to hold down expenditures.

They voted beginning next year to cut in half pay the members receive for attending meetings. Those newly elected will each receive $25 per meeting for up to two meetings per month.

The mayor's annual salary will be cut from $1,800 to $1,200.

Council members agreed to delay advertising the budget for about a week to allow time for tweaking some line items.

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

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