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West Kittanning will hold steady taxes for 2015

West Kittanning’s taxes will be holding steady next year, even though council increased its annual spending plan by 3 percent.

Council unanimously approved a preliminary budget Monday night of a little more than $345,000.

“We held the line on a lot of our spending this year because our goal going into this was to avoid a tax increase at all costs,” said Secretary/Treasurer Carly Cowan.

The preliminary budget leaves the tax rate at 8.25 mills. That means that a house with an assessed value of $25,000 will pay $206.25 in borough property taxes next year.

Each mill generates about $20,000 for the borough.

The borough’s last tax increase, 1.25 mills, occurred in 2013. That tax hike helped the borough secure a $450,000 line of credit to build its community building and salt shed on Arthur Street. It was West Kittanning’s first tax hike in nearly a decade, Cowan said.

The borough’s biggest expense, about $133,000, is for wages for its two part-time police officers, two part-time public works employees and the part-time secretary/treasurer. Wages account for nearly 40 percent of the overall budget.

The budget is expected to increase by about 3 percent, which is about $7,700 more than this year.

Further cuts possible

Further cuts could be made if council decides to contract its police services to Kittanning.

In September, Kittanning officials offered to provide police protection for $55,000 next year, which is about $8,000 less than council has budgeted.

Solicitor Andrew Sacco said Kittanning officials are preparing a contract for West Kittanning officials to review in December.

Council could eliminate or reduce the $5,160 spent on a Dumpster behind the community building, Councilman Ken Trudgen said.

“That’s a lot of money just for a Dumpster,” Trudgen said. “I’m not saying we should get rid of it all together, but we could make some changes.”

The borough has provided the Dumpster for at least 35 years for residents to discard things like lawn chairs, cardboard boxes or lightweight plastics. But officials have run into problems with residents dumping household garbage, furniture, electronics, yard clippings and construction waste.

The Dumpster costs about $430 per month, and officials could consider making it available three or four months per year, as other municipalities do, said Councilman Henry Mores. That would save about $3,400.

Council plans to vote on a final budget at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in the West Kittanning Community Building at 229 Arthur St.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].


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