The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 12, 2012

Northern Cambria taxes rising

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — Property owners in the borough will see their municipal taxes increase by 1 mill, a step needed to generate revenue to balance the 2013 general fund budget.

In a 4-0 vote, council approved a budget of just more than $1.5 million. Spending will be similar to the current budget with the exception of what Borough Manager Claudine Nagle termed an increase in operating expenses.

The tax rate, jumping to 21 mills, has not been increased since 2010, Nagle said.

Estimates by council members are that the additional mill will cost the owner of an average home $12 to $15 annually.

The increase will generate slightly more than $25,000 in additional revenue. That amount will cover the 3 percent wage increases approved for all borough workers, including the manager.

Borough taxes are broken down as follows: 16.48 mills for general expenses; 2 mills for street lighting; 1.52 mills for fire protection and 1 mill split between the park and recreation fund and library.

Next year’s budget and tax increase was approved by council President Eugene Certo, Salvatore Taranto, James Sabella and Albert LaGars. Councilman Wilbur Kelly was absent.

While voting in favor of the increase, LaGars said he did so reluctantly.

“I was very hesitant about this,” LaGars said. “We have so many elderly here and they’re on a fixed income.”

The pay increases for borough employees and members of the police department came at the November council meeting, but the raise for Nagle, the only employee who is not a member of a union, was delayed until this week.

But the hike came with high praise for the manager.

“Not only does she do a good job as borough manager, but she takes care of things that are not even associated with the borough,” Sabella said.

Residents with any number of problems, including Social Security issues and others, enlist Nagle’s help.

“She goes over and above her salary,” he said.

Borough solicitor Dennis Govachini weighed in, saying Nagle is knowledgeable and helpful to him in his role with the borough.

“She wears a couple hats,” he said.

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