Monroeville juggles proposed budget without tax increase |
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Monroeville chief financial officer Sean Lally said most of the $2.4 million spending increase in next year’s proposed budget will go toward municipal employees.

Lally said during a budget hearing that $20.3 million — about 64 percent of the proposed $31.8 million spending plan — will go toward paying wages and other compensation for municipal employees. Monroeville manager Tim Little has recommended no property-tax increase. Property owners already saw real-estate taxes increase by 1.57 mills for 2014 from 2.43 to 4 mills. The increase is about $169 for a home with the median county-assessed value of $107,800.

The proposed budget represents an 8-percent increase over this year’s $29.4 million budget. While municipal officials have recommended council increase spending, Lally said available revenue is expected to increase in line with these expenditures.

In addition to wages, the costs of labor include state-mandated pension contributions — $52,700 per police officer and $12,800 per nonuniformed employee, according to Lally.

Budget documents indicate that the municipality’s total pension requirements for next year will be $3.6 million, with $2.9 million coming from the municipality and an estimated $700,000 coming from the state.

Municipal department heads outlined these changes in revenue streams and projected changes in costs for next year:

• An increase to $400,000 for liability and property insurance, compared to $355,000 budgeted for this year.

“Why that’s up a little bit is the lawsuits that we’ve received over the last couple years,” said Joe Sedlak, director of human resources.

Former Monroeville manager Lynette McKinney has filed lawsuits in federal and state court this year accusing council of unfairly firing her in a January vote. Former police Chief Steve Pascarella also sued the municipality in federal court.

Sedlak said the municipality’s liability insurance includes a deductible of $25,000 per lawsuit, so additional lawsuits increase costs.

• An increase in funding for the Monroeville Public Library — from $984,000 to $1.1 million. The increase includes $47,500 to pay for outside personnel. Acting director Johnna Cornelius said the money will go toward paying engineers and contractors for remodeling the building’s lobby.

• The dispatch center will lose $3,000 a month because it no longer will be providing dispatch services for Forbes Regional Hospital’s paramedic response unit, according to Monroeville police Chief Doug Cole.

• The Monroeville Senior Citizens Center has made about $15,000 this year through SilverSneakers, a program offered through Highmark. Center director Tara Gresock projected $6,000 in additional funds next year from Silver and Fit, a UPMC program that will become effective in January.

A budget work session is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in the municipal building. The Nov. 13 meeting was cancelled.

Gideon Bradshaw is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or [email protected].

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