The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 10, 2012

Proposed city budget holds line on taxes

JOHNSTOWN — The city of Johnstown’s proposed 2013 budget is now open for public review.

City Council formally put forth its tentative financial plan during a brief special meeting on Monday. The $31.4 million budget calls for no tax increase.

“It’s another step in the direction of maintaining and continuing to build fiscal control within the city and putting together budgets that are obtainable and not just a budget that’s put together just to show something that is balanced,” said city finance director Carlos Gunby. “This year’s budget, just like the last three years’ budgets, is one that is taking some serious steps toward financial freedom for the city.”

Approximately $3.6 million has been set aside for debt services, as the city attempts to fortify its overall economic condition, having recently reached its 20th year in the state’s Financial Recovery Act 47 program for distressed municipalities.

“I look at it as one more step closer to someday, in the future, becoming independent of Act 47,” Gunby said.

Johnstown’s tax rate is set to remain at 52.4821 mills, which is slightly less than $5.25 per $100 on the assessed value of real property.

“Everybody likes hearing that there won’t be a tax increase,” said Councilman Pete Vizza.

The general fund is listed at $10.3 million.

Johnstown plans to spend more than twice as much on sewer-related expenses than it did in 2012. That category is expected to increase from $3.2 million to $8.1 million thanks to an infusion of Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority funds.

Council is scheduled to vote on final approval on Dec. 27.

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