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Westmoreland

Unity eyes $5.9M budget, holds line on taxes

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, 9:51 p.m.
The Unity Township municipal building is seen on Oct. 11, 2018, along Beatty County Road.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
The Unity Township municipal building is seen on Oct. 11, 2018, along Beatty County Road.

Unity supervisors plan to hold the line on taxes while proposing a $5.9 million general fund budget for next year.

“We’re trying to keep on track” with spending, said supervisors Chairman John Mylant. “I want to put as much as we can on the roads.”

The tentative 2019 budget, which will be advertised and then finalized at the supervisors’ December meeting, reflects an increase of about $100,000 from the current spending plan. Mylant said much of that additional money will be allocated for road projects and for paying down truck loans the township took out this year.

New trucks were purchased to replace ones destroyed when Unity’s public works garage burned in an arson on Sept. 24, 2017. “The insurance didn’t cover all of our trucks,” Mylant said.

Unity’s insurance carrier has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to a conviction in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 724-832-3288.

Road and garage expenses are budgeted at more than $1.6 million for next year, representing the township’s largest spending category.

Mylant said the township has at least one big-ticket purchase planned next year — a street sweeper to replace one lost in the garage fire.

He said the township is seeking a grant to help make restrooms at the municipal building handicapped-accessible.

Unity’s real estate tax will remain at 2.2 mills. The supervisors last year responded to rising expenses for the township’s eight volunteer fire departments by increasing from 1 mill to 2 mills a tax that helps support local firefighting operations.

Mylant praised the efforts of firefighters and township road crews, and thanked residents for their patience, as Unity responded to an unprecedented level of flash flooding this year. “We had roads that flooded that never flooded before,” he said.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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