Shaler tax rate to remain consistent in 2019
Shaler commissioners approved the township’s 2019 budget during a Dec. 11 meeting. Residents will be pleased to know that property taxes will remain at 2.49 mills.
The balanced budget contains revenues of about $12 million, according to Township Manager Tim Rogers.
The township has a balance of $3.3 million. Capital reserves are in excess of $1.5 million.
“Revenues basically are up by 3 percent, particularly in the property tax area, which is doing very well; sales are going very well. Earned income tax is basically unchanged,” he said.
Expenses are $12.2 million, with the largest being public safety at $5.1 million, followed by public works at $3.9 million, and parks and recreation at $1.9 million, he said.
The annual budget provides for two new police cars and public works department vehicles, the continued support of the Crawford Pool, the Shaler-Hampton EMS and the Shaler North Hills Library.
Rogers said the 2019 plan allocates for a new roof for the mechanic’s garage, which is “leaking significantly.”
Consistent with a consent decree from the EPA, DEP and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, according to Rogers, Shaler is devoting about $750,000 in upgrades to its sanitary sewer system.
Finally, Shaler is contributing $185,000 toward a $3.2 million sewer separation project to alleviate flooding at Sharpsburg’s Ravine Street. The project is being coordinated by PennDOT, Alcosan, O’Hara, Sharpsburg and Shaler, and will help the latter meet its municipal storm sewer system, or MS4, requirements.
Also at the meeting:
• The commissioners voted again to allow Shaler volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service workers to apply for up to $300 in earned-income tax credits for submission through Keystone Collections Group.
The North Hills Council of Governments, of which Shaler is a member, formed a committee that drafted eligibility requirements for the compensation. For instance, the volunteers must achieve a minimum of 50 hours of service through training, call participation, public relations, community events or fundraising.
The criteria comply with the requirements of the state law Act 172, which passed in January 2017, giving municipalities the option to grant fire and EMS volunteers credits for their local taxes.
• Township engineer Matt Sebastian said Shaler is moving forward with its Three Rivers Heritage Trail project, which aims to create a link in the 24-mile multi-use riverfront trail. Shaler has selected McCandless-based TW Engineering Inc. for the project, and Sebastian has met with PennDot and Allegheny County representatives to discuss plans.
• The township completed supplemental information for its Community Rating System (CRS) recertification, to maintain Shaler residents’ 10 percent savings on flood insurance through the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program. Sebastian explained that the township receives credit for educating residents about flood control measures, assisting with flood mapping and disseminating flood information via social media, and other tasks.
• The commissioners passed a resolution granting Allegheny County the right of way and easements for the construction of Pine Creek Bridge No. 9 on Elfinwild Road and the authorization for Rogers to sign all necessary project documents.
Shaler’s 2019 budget allocates $200,000 toward construction of the retaining wall near the county-owned 56-foot glue-laminated timber bridge.
“We’re going to accept certain rights of ways to construct that bridge, and also there’s a wall that runs up beyond the bridge and you need to protect the road,” Rogers said of the 1800s-built structure.
He said a concern is that, due to “the turn radius coming onto the bridge, especially with trucks, we’re going to have to try to capture as much property as we can on the other side of the road.”
The township originally requested walkways on both sides of the bridge, but the radius made the requests difficult to accommodate.
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.