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Council plans to reevaluate 2016 Blawnox budget

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 5:06 p.m.

Blawnox Council reopened the borough's $2.1 million budget for 2016, but it is unclear if the tax rate will change.

Council voted Jan. 28 to open the budget for review, about a month after members approved a plan that kept the property tax rate at 9.85 mills.

The owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $985 under that rate.

Members are expected to discuss the budget at a 6:30 p.m. meeting on Feb. 25.

Council voted 6-1 at the Jan. 28 session to reevaluate the budget, with Scott Krause opposing. Krause did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jack Nolan, of the borough's management team Third Sector Development, said “there is still work to be done on the budget, primarily for capital expenditures.”

Nolan said he suspects that the millage rate will remain at 9.85 mills but he said reviews and changes are being made every day.

Council is preparing for a new accounting system to track and forecast spending, Nolan said.

Because an accounting firm will need to be hired soon, it was necessary to make an entry in the 2016 budget for that expense, he said.

One of the benefits to the new system will be a compatible format with outside agencies.

“If the borough is audited, the new system is more compatible with the systems they are used too,” he said. “The new system will also generate monthly financial reports for council in a format that is more user-friendly and it will also aid us in financial forecasting — a win-win for all.”

The borough's management team suggested a small tax increase during budget workshops last year. Dennis Pittman, a member of Third Sector, recommended a hike of 0.65 mills, which would raise the rate to 10.5 mills, in order to proceed with capital improvements and increased road work in 2016. It also would have given the borough a small fund balance heading into this year.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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