Plum Officials Consider Using Surplus, Sanitation Fee to Balance Budget
The 2013 preliminary Plum budget holds the line on taxes, but residents might pay $5 more per month in sanitation fees.
Plum residents most likely won't experience a tax increase in 2013, but borough officials are considering implementing a $5-a-month increase to sanitation fees to balance the budget.
On Wednesday, council unanimously approved an $11.67 million preliminary budget that holds the line on taxes and already includes the sanitation fee increase. The fee would generate about $600,000.
However, Councilman Mike Dell said the finance committee will meet in the next two weeks to discuss if the fee increase will stand or if money will be taken from the borough's $1 million surplus—or a combination of both.
A similar fee was discussed last year, but officials tabled the matter.
Plum's millage rate remains 4.3 mills, meaning a resident would pay $430 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. Tax rates have remained steady since 2008.
Currently, revenues are projected at $11,678,577 and expenses are projected to be $11,656,022.
Officials started the budget process with a deficit of about $1 million. Borough Manager Mike Thomas said cuts were made in each department—a new police hire, public works equipment, borough building project expenses and park expenses were cut—in order to close the gap.
"We made cuts across the board," Thomas said.
The budget does include replacement hires for retiring public works personnel, three police vehicles and some capital requests in the public works and police departments, according to Dell.
Some expenditure increases include fuel costs and workers compensation for the borough firefighters.
"I don't think there's been a year where we spent more time on the budget," Dell said. "We're at the point where the budget is bare bones, and we also worked on projections for the next two years."
The preliminary budget will be on public display at the borough building and will be posted on the borough website. Public comment can be made at council's workshop and regular voting meetings, Dec. 3 and 10.
A special meeting to approve a final budget has been scheduled for Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. at the borough building. Public comment also will be heard then.