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Tax hike to be unveiled

| Monday, Nov. 24, 2003

Cranberry resident Bill Hartman can't wait for Tuesday.

It's not his birthday -- it's when Cranberry officials are scheduled to make public a draft budget calling for a 1.95 mill increase, and residents will be able to examine the document.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the municipal building, 2525 Rochester Road.

The tax increase, if approved, could cost the owner of a $150,000 home assessed at $16,800 another $34 a year. That same property owner pays $214 now.

Hartman, an operations manager for GNC who ran for supervisor earlier this year but lost in the primary, wants to examine the budget.

He is one of several residents who have been critical of the township's plan to raise taxes.

"Just like any government, it is easy to come to the taxpayers and say we need more money," Hartman said.

In 2001, Cranberry's taxes went up half a mill, which was dedicated to the township's volunteer fire department.

The supervisors also raised the fire tax half a mill in 1999. In all, 2.5 mills go to the fire department. One mill is also dedicated to the township's library.

Cranberry Manager Jerry Andree said the general fund budget is $11.5 million, which is up 11.7 percent from the 2003 budget of $10.3 million.

Township officials point to a 38 percent increase in insurance contributions in explaining the increase.

No rate increases have been budgeted for the combined water and sewer departments for 2004.

Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the final budget at their last meeting of the year at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the municipal building, 2525 Rochester Road.

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