Taxes may hold in Monessen | TribLIVE.com
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Monessen property owners likely will not face an increase in real estate taxes next year.

Council introduced a preliminary budget Wednesday that holds the line on levies for the second year in a row.

The tentative $4,655,751 spending plan calls for the city’s millage rate to stay at 33.85. One mill is expected to generate $58,658 next year, about $300 less than last year.

Mayor Mary Jo Smith said the city was able to balance the budget without any employee layoffs. She said the $5 million bond council recently floated for citywide capital improvement projects will be funneled into the city’s debt service and paid back over time.

“The bond did not cause an increase in the millage,” Smith said.

Based on Westmoreland County tax figures, a house in Monessen with a median assessed value of $16,000 will pay about $541 in real estate taxes. Council was able last year to reduce property taxes from 36.05 to 33.85. Two years ago, under the previous administration, council received court approval to raise taxes 5 mills.

City Clerk Rosalie Nicksich said the city was able to keep taxes down again this year because of the retirements of three employees and keeping a close watch on spending across city departments.

But, Nicksich said they are still many unpaid garbage and tax bills the city needs for revenue.

“We still have about $60,000 to $70,000 in unpaid garbage bills du,e and there are a lot of taxes not paid,” she said.

While the city’s streets department budget went way over budget last winter because of the February blizzards, Nicksich said the city has 500 tons of salt stockpiled for this season, which will help this year’s budget.

Councilman Gerald Saksun, head of streets and public improvements, said there is enough salt for about five snowfalls.

Council is expected to vote on the budget at the Dec. 15 meeting.

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