The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 2, 2013

Richland budget up, taxes not

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — Richland Township’s budget will jump by about 10 percent next year. But taxes won’t budge a bit, supervisors said Monday.

Richland Township’s board tentatively approved a $5.94 million budget for 2014 that keeps millage at 7.5 mills.

If given final approval as-is later this month, it would mark the third straight year the township would keep millage in check – a feat accomplished by tightening spending in other areas at a time health care costs are expected to rise 15 percent and the township’s pension contribution for 2014 will climb $150,000 to $529,204, budget figures show.

Plans to renovate Richland’s 1985-built municipal building and replace its roof remain in the works, but the township will likely seek a low-interest loan for the work and pay it back over five years through

the township’s existing $522,000 contingency fund, Supervisor Melvin Wingard said.

The township also approved a $1,000 increase in its annual $5,000 allocation to Highland Park. The request also was made to Geistown and Stonycreek Township to cover increased operating costs at the recreation park, Supervisor Gary Paul said.

“It’s costing them more to run the place than they are bringing in from rentals and other fees,” he said. “So they asked for help.”

The township unanimously approved the tentative budget on Monday. It will be on the agenda Dec. 30 for final approval, supervisors said.

In other news, board members said they have invited representatives of the Johnstown Windber Hungarian Reformed Church to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss their request about taking over the church’s Richland cemetery. The dwindling church has asked for help saying they cannot afford to maintain the graveyard any longer.

Supervisor Wayne Langerholc Jr. said local residents and community groups have approached the township saying they might be willing to help.

David Hurst covers Richland Township for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at tddavidhurst.