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Greensburg's budget introduction postponed

| Sunday, April 29, 2012, 4:27 p.m.

In a break with recent tradition, Greensburg Council won't present its new budget this month.

City officials said they needed to postpone the budget presentation, which typically occurs each year at the panel's November regular meeting, because of the death last week of Councilman Wayne Johnson.

"We recently had a death of a council person, and we couldn't complete the process in our normal manner," Mayor Karl Eisaman said after Wednesday's meeting.

Johnson, 59, in his first term as a councilman, died Oct. 27. His duties included oversight of the city's recreation department.

For the last seven years, council has introduced the budget in November.

City Administrator Sue Trout said plans are to make the preliminary budget public in early December, then adopt it later in the month.

She and Fiscal Director Mary Perez said it is too early to say what effect the new budget will have on taxes.

"Mary and I have been meeting with department heads. We're still putting numbers together," Trout said.

Last year, council imposed an increase of 1.25 mills in property taxes. Panel members blamed the need for the hike on rising costs for salaries, health insurance, equipment and fuel, as well as capital improvements.

The increase made total millage 21.25 -- 12.25 mills for the general fund and 9 mills for the city's sinking fund, which is used to pay off long-term debt.

Before last year, the last time council hiked property taxes was in 1997. Council lowered the rate by 1 mill in 2005.

In another matter, at its regular meeting Monday, council plans to review revised plans for Dr. Thaer Almalouf's Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland at 555 West Newton Ave.

The city's planning commission reviewed drawings last week and recommended that city council approve the plans.

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