Apollo plans no tax increase
Despite plans to heighten the borough’s police coverage by about 15 percent, Apollo’s 2015 tentative budget calls for no tax or service fee increases.
Council approved the tentative budget on Thursday, holding the borough’s tax rate at 10.9 mills for the 14th consecutive year.
With estimated expenditures coming in at $575,000, the budget represents a 6 percent increase from the current year’s spending.
Most of the increase stems from police department expenses, which will jump from $90,000 in 2014 to $130,000 in 2015. That’s primarily due to the borough’s commitment to provide 16 hours of police coverage, seven days a week.
The department’s five part-time officers currently offer about 96 hours of protection on varying schedules, according to Apollo Mayor Jeff Held. Officials said that additional hires will likely be made in the near future to meet the increase in coverage hours.
Aside from police, there will be no changes in borough jobs or services. All fees for services such as sewage, fire protection and garbage pickup will remain unchanged, according to Councilwoman Cheryl Swank.
“We’re very proud of this budget and the fact that we, once again, did not have to raise taxes to meet all of our goals,” Swank said. “Our committee met every Tuesday since Labor Day and kept plugging away to make sure we saved money wherever we could without compromising our obligations to the residents.”
Council will vote Dec. 11 to finalize the budget.
Apollo officials are awaiting state approval for a grant that would be used to improve several streets, the Kiski Riverfront Trail and Owens Grove Park.
Council in June authorized borough Engineer Rich Craft to apply for $150,000 from three state grant programs.
Two didn’t pan out.
The borough is waiting word on the last one, from the Department of Community & Economic Development’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.
Officials could not say Thursday how much money the borough would receive if the grant is approved. It would be used to repave Park Avenue and an upper portion of North Second Street.
It would cover work to widen Railroad Avenue and make aesthetic improvements to the trail and grove.
Officials expect to hear from the DCED in December or early 2015.
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or [email protected].