Crescent Township has filed a petition before the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to increase its 2013 budget by 13.7 percent from this year's plan.
Township solicitor Richard Start wrote in the petition that a "proposed increase in tax revenues" is required to balance the $1.8 million budget.
Municipal governments in Allegheny County are permitted to raise taxes by up to five percent in reassessment years. Budget hikes higher than the five percent anti-windfall limit require approval from Allegheny County.
Click the media in this article to view the Crescent Township 2013 preliminary budget and the petition to Allegheny County.
Start wrote that several anticipated expenditures—including federally mandated projects and repairs to the long-closed McCutcheon Way—necessitate the steep increase.
Bill Cook, president of the township's Board of Commissioners, declined to comment on the matter and referred Patch to finance commissioner Karen Patton. Patton could not be reached for comment.
The township must increase taxes to a rate that will generate $801,437 in tax revenues, compared to 2012's revenues of $691,265, to balance the budget, according to the petition. The 2012 tax rate is 6.5 mills.
A proposed millage rate was not provided in the petition. Crescent has not increased its millage rate since 2005.
The preliminary budget was approved at the board's Nov. 26 meeting. "No citizen voiced objection to the proposed budget," Start wrote.
According to the petition:
- The township will complete a site management plan in 2013, a federally unfunded mandate that will cost $15,000.
- Workers compensation insurance will increase from $24,000 in 2012 to $40,700 in 2013.
- Street paving projects will increase from $50,000 in 2012 to $124,000 in 2013.
- A storm water management plan will be completed in 2013. The federally unfunded mandate will cost $5,000.
- The township will pay $20,000 for vehicle replacements in 2013.
The township will also pay $50,000 toward repairs of McCutcheon Way, the hillside roadway that was closed in May 2011 due to a landslide.
The road is the only access point to the community's Shouse Park, which has also been closed since spring of 2011.
In November, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County awarded Crescent a . The $50,000 included in the 2013 budget includes non-reimbursable costs, according to the petition.
Earlier this year, the Army Corps of Engineers offered to repair the road free of cost to Crescent. In exchange, the corps requested to shut down Shouse Park for an indefinite period of time to use as a staging area for repairs to the nearby Dashields Dam.
The parties failed to reach an agreement on the repairs.
"The proposed increase in real estate revenues is needed to assure that public health and safety-related work critical to the core function of the township are performed when needed," Start wrote.
The Board of Commissioners will vote to finalize the 2013 budget during a special meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 27 at the township's Spring Run Road Extension municipal building.