Parkesburg Borough Council unanimously approved the first draft of the borough's 2009 budget after a first reading at council's regular bi-monthly meeting on Nov. 3. Councilor Virginia Miller was absent."This is a conservative budget," said Council President and Finance Committee Chairman Dave Jones. "There may be belt-tightening in 2009 depending on revenues versus projections. If things continue to be slow we may not be able to do everything we plan to do in this budget."

The budget amount of $3.1 million is significantly lower than the $3.9 million that was projected for 2008, however it should be noted that the 2008 budget contained a $1 million storm water project grant and a surplus of approximately $284,000.

The budget also incorporates an amount equal to 3/4 of a mill for the Parkesburg Fire Company, which was requested by the fire company at a council meeting last month. Jones was asked via email to clarify whether or not the borough planned to actually dedicate the mill age to the fire company, and he wrote that council will decide that issue when they pass the budget. He also said the borough solicitor is researching whether or not the borough would need to re-dedicate the millage every year or not.

Jones went on to explain that the amount allocated to the fire company in the budget is equal to the value of three-quarters of a mill according to the amount of money collected this year from the borough property tax, which is (and is to remain in 2009) eight mills. He said that there is a difference between the value of eight mills of property tax as it is based on assessed real estate values in the borough and what the borough actually collects, so the borough is basing its contribution to the fire company on the taxes it believes it will actually collect.

Also included in the budget is $15,000 for the Parkesburg Library, a $3,000 increase from 2008. According to Library Board member Dennis Schwandt, who was in the audience, the library had requested additional funds according to the county library system's per capita contribution guidelines.

"This is the first year we referenced the per capita guidelines but all we can do is request," Schwandt said.

Schwandt also said that the guidelines were followed in the library's funding request letters to the other municipalities that sup port the library, and that the library had made a point of getting the letters out earlier this year so that the municipalities could consider the requests during budget deliberations.

Other highlights of the 2009 budget include (all figures are rounded off): $887,000 for Police (there is projected to be $490,000 in Public Safety Income, part of which includes payments from the other municipalities that contract police services from the borough), $496,000 for Insurance and Benefits, $325,000 for Property, $298,000 for Administration, $260,000 for Streets, $121,000 for the Fire Company, and $59,000 for Culture and Recreation. The borough is projecting income of $1.24 million from Property Taxes and $434,000 from Act 511 (Earned Income) Taxes.

The budget surplus to be carried forward from 2008 to 2009 is just under $36,000, however that figure could change significantly if the borough is successful in collecting the approximately $86,000 owed to it by developers (see related story) and approximately $32,000 in overdue trash fees.

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