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Valley News Dispatch

Tarentum won't hike property taxes next year, but electricity will cost more

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, 10:09 a.m.
Tarentum Borough welcome sign.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Tarentum Borough welcome sign.

Tarentum property owners won’t be paying more in borough property taxes in 2019, but their electric bills will be higher.

The property tax rate would stay at 5.48 mills under the $10.1 million preliminary spending plan, which council could act on Thursday.

Water rates would also stay the same, at $25 for the first 2,000 gallons.

But electric rates will be going up, from 11.34 cents per kilowatt hour to 12 cents per kilowatt hour. Officials say that’s because the borough will enter into a two-year supply agreement for electricity with PSEG Energy Resources and Trade.

Tarentum has been buying electricity from PSEG for about the past year through month-to-month agreements.

For the two-year deal, PSEG requires a $750,000 security deposit. To pay it, the borough will take out a $350,000 tax anticipation loan that will be paid off in several months.

Tarentum’s budget is higher than most municipalities with a 4,500 population since the general fund, water fund and electrical fund are all included in the overall budget.

Also included is about $519,000 for state grants Tarentum will receive in 2019.

The biggest budget item is the $650,000 set aside for police wages for the nine-member force. The borough has budgeted $364,000 for wages in the public works department.

There is $50,000 set aside for renovations and upgrades at Dreshar Stadium, built in 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Tarentum also allocated $150,000 for demolition of 10-to-12 dilapidated structures.

The borough will receive nearly $138,500 in state liquid fuels reimbursement.

The borough has hired a full-time code enforcement officer, Anthony Bruni, who will begin work on Jan. 2 at an annual salary of $53,000.

A final vote on the budget is slated for Thursday, Dec. 27.

George Guido is a freelance writer. Staff writer Brian C. Rittmeyer contributed.

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