Hempfield Township budget maintains tax line
Hempfield Township supervisors adopted a $10.25 million budget for 2005 that maintains taxes at 3 mills.
The budget includes revenues of $8.36 million, the bulk of which will come from $6.2 million in real estate taxes.
A $2 million carryover from 2004 helped balance the budget. Supervisor Doug Weimer credited "frugal spending" for the hefty carryover.
"We did well at saving money," Weimer said. "We budgeted for expenses we did not grant, and we limited our expenses."
Weimer said supervisors began belt-tightening in anticipation of increased expenses for the coming year, including a new contract with its secretarial and road department employees.
The township's contract with Teamsters Local 30 expired Dec. 23. Its 47 members, who include public works employees, code enforcement officers and office personnel, agreed to a 30-day extension.
Next year's carryover, however, likely will be much smaller. The budget calls for only a $108,284 carryover from 2005 to 2006.
In an unrelated matter, supervisors approved a $100,000 grant to the township's municipal authority to help pay for a sewer line extension to serve approximately eight homes in the King of Arms section of the township.
Weimer said the grant was a budgeted expense for 2004. He said the township agreed to help pay for the project because it otherwise may have been too costly to residents.
Supervisor Kim Ward said the site's elevated location added to the cost of the project. The added cost, combined with the small number of homes to be served, would have resulted in higher-than-average assessments to the residents.
Residents still will bear some cost to have the lines installed, Weimer said, but the grant will help ensure their expenses are in line with those assessed to homeowners in other parts of the township.
In an unrelated matter, supervisors declined a request from Hempfield No. 2 volunteer fire department to allow nonprofit groups to solicit on state roads.
The fire department had been soliciting motorists on Route 30, near the former Burger King restaurant just outside Westmoreland Mall, until state police ordered them to stop, according to a letter the fire department sent to the township.
Solicitor Les Mlakar said the state's vehicle code prohibits anyone from soliciting along state roads. Last year, after residents complained of being solicited for money by another nonprofit group on Route 30 near Wal-Mart, supervisors asked state police to enforce the vehicle-code prohibition.
Mlakar told supervisors they cannot ask troopers to make an exception for nonprofit groups because that would amount to illegal, selective enforcement of the law.