No Property Tax Increase
The Whitehall Borough Council unanimously approved an $8.9-million budget on Wednesday evening that holds the line on property taxes at 5.5 mills for an eighth consecutive year, or $550 per year for those with a home valued at $100,000.
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As previously reported, the borough did increase its , though, from $15 per year to $52.
The tax, formerly known as the Emergency and Municipal Service Tax, affects only those who work in Whitehall. The increase is expected to generate an additional $74,000 in revenue to offset other municipal costs. Workers earning less than $12,000 per year are exempt from the tax, which will be collected throughout the year rather than in a lump sum.
“We are one of the last communities to raise to the $52 local services rate, and we didn't get any complaints on it from the public,” Councilman Robert McKown said.
In addition to the general budget, the borough's budget for fuels was set at $277,412 and at $4,834,398 for sewers, bringing total borough spending to a little over $14 million for 2012.
The Whitehall Council approved appointments to various boards and commissions within the borough, including:
- Domenic Evangelista for a four-year term on the Whitehall Planning Commission;
- Lorraine Bertha, Norman Brown, James Gimiliano, Mary Scherer and Heather Schorr for three-year terms on the Recreation Board;
- David Thomas for a three-year term on the Zoning Hearing Board;
- Matthew Fusco for a three-year term on the Uniform Construction Code Appeals Board; and
- Andrew Sakmar to the South Hills Area Council of Governments Franchising Authority Board until Dec. 31, 2013, with Councilman Harold Berkoben as the alternate.
2012 Wage and Salary Ordinance
Whitehall Borough Manager James E. Leventry announced that a 2012 wage and salary ordinance for borough employees has been prepared and that the ordinance will be available for view by the public for the next two weeks at .
A vote on that ordinance will occur at the next council meeting, which will be on Tuesday, Jan. 3. (The council usually meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month, but that is an exception.)
Before the start of the Jan. 3 regular meeting, the council will hold a reorganizing session at around 8 p.m.
Purchase of Radar Speed Display Approved
The council approved the purchase of a radar speed display sign from All Traffic Solutions for $5,175 on Wednesday night. The purchase was recommended by the borough's Public Safety Committee.
Funds for a second display are included in the 2012 budget.
Changes in Command for Whitehall Fire Company
Councilman Philip Lahr reported some changes at the . The company's new captain for 2012 will be Jim Matragas, with Brian Pearson as first lieutenant and Robert Lang as second lieutenant.
Fire Chief Lee Price and Assistant Chief Eric Harris will remain in their positions, as will all other firefighters.
The Whitehall Fire Company Fund Drive received approximately 2,300 responses out of approximately 6,700 borough residences, which Lahr felt was a poor showing.
McKown, who serves on the board of , announced that the MRTSA union has come to a tentative agreement for a three-year contract with increases of 3 percent per year.
The union board will ratify this at its next meeting in January and is moving forward with its plan to refurbish the authority's ambulances.
The Friends of the Whitehall Public Library reported that they had a successful year of making progress on their two-year campaign to raise $50,000 for the library to mark the Friends' 50th anniversary.
Nearly $25,000 in donations were received this year with a 10-percent response rate.
Councilwoman Kathleen N. DePuy recognized the winners of Whitehall's and was thanked for her time and efforts in organizing the event every year.