Archive

Budget calls for increases in tax, fees for Irwin | TribLIVE.com
Norwin

Budget calls for increases in tax, fees for Irwin

Irwin officials are proposing a 2015 budget that would increase the property-tax rate to cover the cost of hiring two more full-time police officers and help finance a new ladder truck for the volunteer fire department by creating what would, in effect, be a fire-service tax.

Increases in the fees for trash collection and sewage also have been proposed.

Released last week, the $3.5-million proposal calls for a 1.5-mill increase in the property-tax rates.

Half a mill of the proposed increase would generate about $15,000 annually to help the Irwin Volunteer Fire Department make payments on a new firetruck that is to be delivered by the end of the year. The truck costs nearly $700,000.

The rest of the proposed rate hike would pay to hire a new police officer early next year and a second officer sometime later in 2015. In addition to the police chief, the borough has two-full time police officers.

Officials last week debated the need to raise the millage to hire additional police officers.

Councilman John Cassandro said annual crime statistics he obtained from a state website indicate that crime has dipped in the borough over the past decade with the current department size.

But Councilwoman Peggie Watson said council should follow police Chief Roger Pivirotto’s recommendation to increase the size of his department.

“If we’re going to bring more people into Irwin, then we need to have more police protection,” she said in reference to the borough’s successful efforts to attract visitors to the borough with entertainment and other activities.

After the meeting, Pivirotto said crime statistics don’t reflect the crime that is prevented by the increased police presences of a larger force.

“My goal is to make the borough a place where criminals don’t want to come to do their business,” he said.

O fficials also have proposed an 11-percent increase to the local sewage fee and a 5-percent hike for residential garbage collection.

If approved, the borough’s portion of the quarterly sewage bill would rise from $45.34 to $50.34. Part of the quarterly bill customers receive for sewage treatment is charged by the Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority.

Residential garbage rates also would increase — from $43.88 per quarter to $46.08 — next year to reflect increases in the cost charged by Waste Management, said Mary Benko, the borough manager. Commercial garbage collection rates would go from $7.84 per cubic yard of waste to $8.22 a cubic yard, which is an increase of 4.8 percent.

In a somewhat symbolic vote that begins the budget process, Watson and council members Robert Wayman, Phyliss Thiem and Joanna Jordan voted to make the preliminary budget a public document. Cassandro and Council members Deborah Kelly and Gail Macioce voted against the measure.

By law, the borough must pass a balanced budget by Dec. 31.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at [email protected].


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.