The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 27, 2012

Windber plans for 1-mill tax increase

WINDBER — Windber Borough gave a tentative nod Tuesday to a 2013 budget that raises taxes 1 mill.

It’s a spending plan that includes a $20,000 “cushion” for the possibility of a higher fee to keep Paint Township’s regional force patrolling the borough next year.

But Windber council called it only a minor factor in their need for a tax hike, saying borough payroll, utilities and health care costs continue to rise.

“Nobody wants to raise taxes,” Councilman Jim Spinos said after the borough tentatively adopted the $1.2 million budget. “But if you don’t increase it a small amount now, you turn around and it piles up down the road. We can’t let that happen.”

For a borough taxpayer with a home valued at $50,000, that increase will mean $25 more a year – or $2 a month, borough Manager Fred Oliveros said.  It would mean $50 a year for a home valued at $100,000, he said.

This is the first time since 2009 that council is raising taxes.

The increase would bring millage to 13.92 next year in a community where a single mill brings $46,800 in revenue.

Salaries and benefits alone will cost Windber nearly $25,000 more next year, Oliveros said. Then there’s rising fuel and utility costs and looming needs such as a new building roof and liner for the community pool, he said.

“You have to look past today,” Spinos added. “It’s about planning for what’s around the corner, too.”

Neighboring Paint Township’s hesitance to raise taxes, despite several years of deficit spending, put the township in a deep financial hole that threatened the regional police force.

The communities that the Paint force patrols, including Windber, already have been put on notice that the township might seek to amend existing protection contracts to generate additional funding. That’s where the $20,000 cushion comes in, Oliveros said.

Some, or all, of those funds could be used, he added. Or none.

Regardless, it won’t change the borough’s plans to increase millage, Oliveros said.  

Windber currently pays $350,000 yearly for full-time police service.

That includes an officer patrolling the borough’s streets 24-7.

“We have to plan our expenses ... and we don’t want to be caught off guard,” Oliveros said.

Council President Barry Jerley said council wants the regional force to work – and is willing to do its part to help in tough times.

But the borough has to be prudent, too, Jerley said.   

“We can’t just (let costs) for it get out of control,” he said. “It’s taxpayers’ money we’re spending – and we have to do what’s best for them,” Jerley said.

The budget is now available for public review. It’s expected to be on council’s Dec. 18 agenda for final adoption.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads