Scott Township Avoids Tax Increase
The township slashed several road paving projects to balance the 2012 budget.
Scott Township slashed more than one-third of next year’s road paving projects to balance the 2012 budget without a tax increase.
The commissioners were close to installing a .435-mill increase, but four of them agreed to forgo road construction in their wards for the next year to save $222,000 in the budget. The $9.71 million will keep municipal taxes at 5 mills next year.
The budget debate centered over whether to raise taxes with so many questions remaining about the impact of Allegheny County’s court-mandated reassessment.
“We all know we have a problem with these assessments,” Commissioner Tom Castello said. “It’s a total mess. We’ve got a mess going with this tax issue.”
But outgoing Commissioner Dennis “DJ” Brooks questioned how surrounding communities could balance their budgets without needed a tax increase.
“Nobody knows for sure what exactly is going to happen with this,” Brooks said about the new assessment figures. “We’re going to be the only one in the South Hills with a tax increase. I think we should take this back and see if we can work this without a tax increase.”
So that’s exactly what they did after a 3-to-5 vote to raise taxes–with Castello, Eileen Meyers and Pat Caruso voting for it–failed to pass. Brooks and fellow commissioners Bill Wells, Craig Stephens and David Calabria said they would relinquish the road paving funds to their districts to avoid a tax increase.
“Are you willing to give away your roads next year?” Castello said. “I’m not.”
Caruoso said she thinks it’s “a risky thing to do” by not paving roads in every ward since some areas need to be fixed. The Carothers Avenue project apparently is not affected by the decision to cut $222,000 from the original $625,000 roads budget.
“I just think right now we just have to wait and see how these numbers come out,” Stephens said.
The commissioners then voted unanimously to approve a budget that keeps taxes the same, but cuts paving plans for wards 2, 3, 4 and 7. The township still can decide to increase taxes by up to 5 percent depending on the new property assessment.
Also during the meeting…
- The board is expected to replace Commissioner James Walther, who resigned from his position earlier this month, during their next meeting on Jan. 10. The township is soliciting applications from people living in the 9th Ward who want to fill Walther’s term until it expires in 2014. Those interested should send their resumes and letter of interest to Scott Township Manager Denise Fitzgerald at the municipal building.
- The board voted 6-2 to authorize a traffic study for a potential traffic light at Bower Hill Road and Kane Boulevard. Castello and Brooks voted against the measure. Providence Point assisted living facility has offered to pay up to $100,000 if a traffic light is needed at the intersection.
- New carpeting, tables and chairs will be purchased for a small multi-purpose meeting room in the municipal building. The commissioners agreed to spend up to $4,000 on the renovations and allow the township’s library to install doors to existing cabinets.
- The township will spend $8,900 to make repairs to the public works department’s salt shed.