Jeannette budget carries tax increase
Jeannette City Council on Monday night approved a $5.9 million budget that is identical to a preliminary spending plan passed three weeks ago.
The 2014 budget calls for a 0.35 percent increase in the Earned Income Tax, or EIT, and an increase in garbage collection rates for city residents.
The new budget was passed by 4-0 vote, with approval coming from William Bedont, Mark Clark, Mark Levander and Kathie Tanyer. Outgoing Mayor Robert Carter was absent.
The EIT will increase by 0.35 percent, to a total of 1.5 percent collected each year from city residents. The city will collect 1 percent, half of which goes to the school district. Of the city's portion, 0.5 percent will be allocated strictly for paying down Jeannette's pension debt.
The police pension payment for 2013, which is about $536,000, will not be paid by the end of this year. It will roll over into next year and begin to accrue interest. The full pension obligation in 2014 will be $1.36 million, which forces the city to increase revenues to build a balanced budget.
Council members have maintained that Jeannette's commercial garbage collection rates are significantly lower than both neighboring municipalities and private trash hauler fees. Businesses that use bags rather than dumpsters will see an increase from $14 to $20 per pickup. Rates for Dumpsters are “per pull,” or per emptying of a receptacle. Those with two-yard Dumpsters will see rates increase from $20 to $28, three-yard Dumpsters from $25 to $35, six-yard dumpsters from $34 to $47.50 and an eight-yard Dumpster from $44 to $59.
Officials have said that the increases are needed to help the city become solvent.
Mayor-elect Richard Jacobelli said he was looking forward to “getting to work and having a successful year” when he takes office at the Jan. 6 reorganization meeting.
In a similar fashion, outgoing councilwoman Kathie Tanyer said “it was a pleasure working with all of you” before the adjournment of Monday's meeting.
Chuck Brittian is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.