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North Hills

No property tax hike in 2017 Shaler budget draft

| Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, 2:51 p.m.

Shaler officials do not anticipate property tax increases in the 2017 budget they will present next month, township Manager Tim Rogers said.

“We're very happy with that, of course,” he said at a Nov. 8 commissioners meeting.

The plan in development includes $13 million in expenditures, no increased sanitary sewer maintenance fees and the “lion's share” of spending going toward public safety, according to Rogers.

The commissioners have set a public budget appropriation hearing for 7 p.m. Dec. 13; a public tax levy ordinance hearing is scheduled for the same meeting.

Also at the commissioners meeting:

• Township engineer Matt Sebastian reported that he is working with KLH Engineers to finalize designs for a gateway sign, along Route 8 near Saxonburg Boulevard. KLH, with Ohio, Kentucky and New York offices, assisted with a cost estimate.

“We're projecting, I would say, $20,000 to $25,000 in savings by taking some of that work in-house,” he said.

Sebastian said the township plans on handling some site work, including excavation, grading and planting. Shaler will partner with the Hampton Shaler Water Authority to relocate a fire hydrant.

Avanti Architecture of Pittsburgh also is assisting with plans for the sign featuring “Welcome to Shaler Township” and the township's establishment date.

• The township is applying for a $65,000 Community Development Block Grant to make a Fall Run Park trail handicap accessible.

“There's a waterfall toward the middle of the trail and we're looking at the area above the waterfall for this,” Sebastian said, regarding the potential upgrades using the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding.

The application comes as part of Shaler's larger plans to repair the park's bridges, streams, and trails following damaging 2015 rainstorms.

• The township's 2016 paving project is complete, Sebastian said.

• Shaler North Hills Library, in conjunction with the Kiski Astronomers, has acquired an Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch Astronomical Telescope.

Patrons may borrow the telescope from the library, just like a book, for a one-week period.

“It adds an interesting dynamic to the collections,” said library director Sharon McRae.

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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