Oakmont preliminary budget holds line on taxes
Oakmont officials are trying to hold the line on taxes as they tweak their 2017 proposed budget.
Borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen during a recent council meeting presented a preliminary spending plan that maintains the tax rate at 3.73 mills. One mill generates $504,158.
Council President Thomas Briney said the budget does not yet address requests from borough departments, commissions and boards.
“We’re always faced with vehicle requests and things like that,” Briney said. “We just got a whole list of those things to look at and decide how we want to fund them.”
The borough raised taxes last year, the first time in at least nine years, from 3.4 mills to 3.73 mills. That was done to increase funds for road paving, storm and sanitary sewer repairs, Jensen said.
Briney and Jensen said they do not anticipate a tax increase.
“I don’t know that there’s a need for it,” Jensen said. “Until the budget is passed, that could change.”
She said fuel costs have gone down, and real estate tax revenue has increased slowly in the past few years from two new housing developments, Edgewater and River’s Edge.
Jensen said the budget includes spending for a police car, a one-ton dump truck for the street department and upgrades to the municipal building sidewalks, employee parking lot and phones.
She also noted the police department will receive its contracted 3 percent wage increase at the start of next year. The street department and wastewater treatment plant will receive their contracted 3.5 percent wage increase at the start of July.
The contract for street department and wastewater treatment plant employees expires June 30, 2020, and the police contact expires at the end of next year.
The borough also budgeted $167,000 toward a new truck for its volunteer fire department, which has committed at least $150,000 for the purchase. The department could receive the truck early next fall.
The preliminary budget is posted online at oakmontborough.com and available for review at the borough office, 767 Fifth St. Council could adopt it at a Dec. 5 meeting; a budget must be approved by Dec. 31.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367 or [email protected].