Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Tax Change Seen for Peters

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Tax Change Seen for Peters

Article excerpt

Peters unveiled a preliminary budget this week that calls for no tax increases next year in a $19.8 million spending plan.

Next year's proposed plan is $1.2 million more than this year's budget, which is expected to produce a $10.7 million surplus at the end of the year.

Spending this year and last stayed within revenue limits due to a combination of improved economic conditions, additional revenue sources and fiscal conservancy, said township manager Michael Silvestri in a report issued with the proposed budget.

The township expects to end 2015 with a $8.9 million fund balance, $2.2 million less than the surplus in this year's budget.

Mr. Silvestri urged fiscal conservatism again next year, warning that housing starts might be dampened by potential gas drilling activity and a new zoning ordinance that is expected to further slow growth next year.

Tax rates for next year are proposed to remain steady, with 13 mills in real estate tax, an earned income tax rate of 0.5 percent, realty transfer taxes of 1 percent and local services fee of $47 per year.

Revenues for next year are pegged at about $17.3 million, though they could rise to meet expenditures, Mr. Silvestri said, due to an improved local economy.

Anticipated grants are the primary driver behind a projected $900,000 increase in revenue next year. They include local share funds from the Meadows Racetrack & Casino slots revenue to be used for an outdoor stage project at Peterswood Park and a state Department of Environmental Resources grant to offset the cost of recycling containers.

Gas drilling impact fees also could be realized starting next year, Mr. Silvestri said. Drillers have yet to put down roots in the township, but wells are beginning to encircle the community.

Assessed value in next year's budget is projected at $342 million, up about $5 million - or about 83 new homes - over this year, with each mill of real estate tax generating $331,870. Residential development this year was down slightly, mirroring national trends, and Mr. Silvestri said new development regulations set to take effect next year with different options and a different housing density will likely affect growth until 2016. …

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