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Derry Borough’s proposed budget drops taxes 1 mill |

Derry Borough’s proposed budget drops taxes 1 mill

Derry Borough will lower real estate taxes for 2015, a year after council voted to raise the millage rate to the maximum allowed under state law.

The proposed 2015 budget, which council this week voted to advertise, shows a real estate tax millage rate reduction from 30 mills to 29. Each mill generates $12,528.95 for the borough. Council had raised the rate by 2.25 mills to 30 in the 2014 budget.

“This could be a one-year, temporary thing,” council President Chad Fabian said of the tax decrease. “If it works out for the residents, great. Last year, we kind of shocked everybody by going to maximum millage right off the bat. It’s like, ‘Sorry everybody, we’re taking advantage of you.’

“This year, we can cut you back a little bit, give you a break and take basically the big shocker from jacking taxes up to the maximum and bring it back a little bit, and we’ll figure it out from there,” Fabian said.

Some council members expressed concern over reducing the millage rate when the borough has several costly construction and repair projects lined up.

“There’s always a concern of leaving yourself short,” Fabian said. “By the same token, we cannot have too big of a savings account. We can only carry so much money from year to year. As it stands now, we’ve got a nice capital reserve fund. … If we have to touch them, we’ll touch them. We’ll use them.”

One major project won’t cut into the municipality’s budget. The borough learned Westmoreland County will pick up the tab for the sidewalk project using Community Development Block Grant funds. Council awarded the project to Rhino Construction, the lowest bidder at $125,370, to bring about 16 curbs, sidewalks and corners up to code and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Fabian said the borough officials had expected bids to come in significantly lower — about $60,000 — and were concerned about having to foot the bill for any overage. Instead, the county increased its contribution of CDBG funds to cover the entire project.

“They came back and said, basically, ‘Merry Christmas, here you go. Here’s your lowest bid. Get it done,’ ” Fabian said. “We were all shocked. It’s a godsend. This is a project future councils down the road won’t have to worry about.”

Council voted to advertise for bids for a tax anticipation loan of $95,000 for 2015 and to advertise the borough’s 1993 Ford F-450 truck for bids. Fabian said there have been multiple calls from people interested in the truck.

Council approved hiring Anthony Vittone Jr. as a part-time police officer.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or [email protected].

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