JOHNSTOWN, PA – Southmont Borough Council must find about $ 42,000 to balance its interim budget of $ 850,000 before the state’s November budget deadline.
At a council meeting on Wednesday, City Councilor Kevin Pile introduced a motion to raise property taxes by a million to make up for the budget shortfall expected in 2022, but his motion got a second of none. member of the board.
Members Sheree Speicher, Eric Muncert, Herb Ewald, Bill Trevorrow and Robert Morgan were present at the meeting.
“I am not voting for any tax increase,” Trevorrow said.
Last year, council approved a $ 3 million tax increase for paving roads, a new roof for the municipal building on Wonder Street, and a state-mandated stormwater management project in Cheney Run. .
Trevorrow punctuated his opposition to yet another tax hike on Wednesday by declaring that none of those projects are complete.
The rising cost of policing services from the West Hills Regional Police Department has been a major budget hurdle, Pile said.
“Police services and the borough’s payroll represent half of the budget,” Pile said.
The West Hills Regional Police budget is expected to increase further this year, but it has not been finalized or shared with the municipalities, including Southmont, which fund the department.
Southmont council has scheduled a budget meeting for Nov. 9 at the Town Hall on Wednesday to decide how to fund the 2022 budget.
At that time, council members said they hoped to get a clearer picture of police financial demands.
A final budget vote is scheduled for Nov. 15 to align with the state’s deadline for municipal budget submissions.
One option to balance the borough’s budget would be to take $ 50,000 from the liquid fuel fund. Borough Secretary Amanda Layton said the move would leave $ 130,000 in the paving fund in 2022.
In order to reduce expenses, the council voted unanimously on Wednesday to end payments to council members and to the mayor of the borough. This saves about $ 7,000 per year, Layton said.
The Pennsylvania district code allows district officials to be paid. Since 1988, Southmont Borough Council members have been paid $ 75 per month.
The council is also amending its tree ordinance to save $ 15,000 per year.
Instead of contracting tree services to maintain trees in rights-of-way, it will be the responsibility of landowners, Speicher said.
Russ O’Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on twitter @RussellOReilly.