Plum Council holds line on taxes for 2019, plans stormwater projects
Plum officials held the line on taxes and plan future stormwater projects as part of the new year’s budget.
Council unanimously approved its 2019 spending plan in December.
It maintains the real estate tax rate at 4.78 mills.
Taxes were raised 1 mill in 2017 to fund road paving projects and bolster emergency medical services.
Borough officials said the town is in good shape because of frugal spending and efficient planning.
“It just shows that Plum is in very good fiscal condition,” said Dave Majernik, councilman and finance committee chairman. “That’s mostly due to our great staff who used the taxpayer dollars wisely and provided good services and safety to the residents of the borough.”
Documents list projected revenues and expenses around $13.1 million.
Plum plans to spend about $500,000 more this year in stormwater and flood mitigation projects to address its aging pipe system.
The increase includes about $240,000 from a 2016 bond issue.
“We’ve had a lot of rain this year, and that leaves a lot of problems,” Borough Manager Michael Thomas said.
Projects include fixing catch basins, inlets and replacing old tin pipes installed prior to the 1980s.
The borough has about $850,000 in a stormwater management fund. Those funds include revenue from the borough’s $5 monthly flood mitigation fee imposed on each household.
Majernik said the system needs to be addressed now before all the ongoing housing development construction is complete.
“The borough’s growing,” he said. “Somebody builds a housing plan, and two miles down the stream that’s where there’s a problem.
“Nobody anticipated that in advance all the time. We have a great code enforcement group that does a good job that tries to anticipate problems and solve them before they happen. But life’s complicated, and you can’t always anticipate what people do once they are in on a property.”
Thomas noted council increased its paving budget by 50 percent to 100 percent in previous years, and the borough is in a good position to focus on its waterlines as a result.
“We do feel like we’re caught up on (our street plan),” he said. About $860,000 is budgeted for paving in 2019.
Council also earmarked $10,000 for master site plans for borough parks — something that was not in previous budgets.
Thomas said they include new playgrounds, walking trails and other upgrades to be installed over time.
Larry Mills’ and Renton Park’s plans are nearly complete. Logans Ferry’s plan will be next.
Majernik noted that the borough offers a lot of recreational activities at its parks, including Summer Fest, Fall Fest, Christmas at Plum Creek, an Easter egg hunt, trout fishing and numerous sporting opportunities at its ball fields.
“These events bring people together,” he said. “All these things increase the livability of the community. We’re lucky to have different recreational facilities all over the borough.”
Majernik said other expenditures in the new year include about $250,000 for two school resource officers for the Plum School District in the 2019-20 school year.
The district has one resource officer this school year. That salary was split by the borough and district.
Starting in January, the borough will cover the full cost.
The budget is available for review at the borough building, 4575 New Texas Road.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.