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Ford City's taxes likely to increase

| Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

FORD CITY — If adopted, a preliminary 2011 general fund budget of $2.4 million presented by council last night would mean a tax increase of about $300,000 for Ford City residents.

Council president John Lux said Monday there will be a 1.3-mill special tax fund increase — amounting to about $50,000 — to help pay for a new fire truck. Borough residents also would see monthly increases of $3.50 for garbage collection and $5 for water service. That means the garbage collection fee of $21.50 would jump to $25 and the minimum water rate of $22 would increase to $27.

Ron Dillard said updates and renovations to the water treatment plant must be made according to Department of Environmental Protection mandates. Lux said problems with the water treatment plant had gone unaddressed for more than a decade.

"This is something we (the present council) walked into about two weeks into our term. Now we have to tackle the issues."

Dillard said the jump is "not a super increase. It's a true bargain." He added that the borough is not eligible for a PennVest loan because its water rates are too low.

Addressing the garbage rate increase, Lux said the borough had a $4 increase two years ago. Before that, he said, the borough was losing money, primarily because of high fuel costs and increased landfill fees.

"Now we need a new truck," he said. "It's that simple. The old truck is worn out." He added that there will be no cuts in borough services.

Also at yesterday's meeting, council authorized Lux to sign the paperwork with S&T Bank to borrow $45,000, about 60 percent of the cost of replacing the borough building's boiler. Dillard said the cost of the boiler is in the 2011 budget, but an immediate replacement is needed. He said many areas of the borough building are without central heating and are using auxiliary heat sources.

A motion to engage Maher Duessel auditing firm to review a random period of six months of tickets issued by the Ford City Police Department at a cost not to exceed $4,000 was tabled.

The preliminary budget will be on display at the borough building beginning today. Council will meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Ford City Library to take a final vote on the proposed budget.

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