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Plum OKs 1 mill tax hike in $10.4M budget |

Plum OKs 1 mill tax hike in $10.4M budget

| Wednesday, December 12, 2007 12:00 a.m

Plum property owners will be assessed a 1-mill hike in their borough real estate taxes in 2008.

Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to approve a $10.4 million budget –up $200,000 — and increase the tax rate from 3.3 mills to 4.3 mills. Councilman Russell Oft did not attend the meeting.

Council President Chuck McMeekin voted no, saying he could support a half-mill increase.

“I can’t put my arms around a 1-mill increase,” he said. “A lot of people in the community cannot take 1 mill.”

A mill is equivalent to $1.2 million in revenue. The increase will cost the average taxpayer an additional $92 a year.

Councilman Donald Flickinger, finance committee chairman, said he wasn’t comfortable with a half-mill increase based upon expenses the borough incurred this year from storm damage. Plum has spent almost $300,000 to clean up and make repairs.

“If we have another major storm event, we would be in trouble,” Flickinger said.

Manager Michael Thomas said the 1-mill increase is expected to result in a $300,000 surplus.

The budget includes $300,000 for storm water system repairs as well as $30,000 for a comprehensive storm water study.

The revenue from the tax increase also will be used to hire three police officers, replace a dump truck and aging police cars, update the comprehensive plan and pave additional roads, Thomas said.

The millage hike is the first since 2005. That time, the tax rate was increased 1.28 mills to provide money for the fire and street improvement funds and debt service. The last time the millage rate was increased for the general fund was 1992, Thomas said.

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