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Conemaugh Township holding taxes in 2019

December 21, 2018

The Conemaugh Township supervisors passed a nearly $4 million budget for 2019, foregoing a property tax increase, despite the loss of revenue from firefighters across the township.

Chairman Steve Buncich said the supervisors budgeted for the loss of revenue from approximately 40 firefighters and other volunteers who qualify for the township’s new ordinance, which reimburses fire department or EMS volunteers 20 percent of their township property taxes and $200 of their earned income taxes.

“We talked to both chiefs and they’re compiling numbers of firefighters they think qualify for the year,” he said. “We did the budget appropriately for all that.”

“It’ll help, but it’s not the salvation. It’s a stipend and benefits the ones who put the time in,” Buncich said.

The supervisors budgeted to receive $819,200 in property taxes and $770,500 in local enabling taxes next year. The $3,933,976 budget also includes $1,849,697 in fund balance. The township’s largest expenses next year include $812,477 for highway services and $647,937 for police services.

Buncich said the supervisors do their best to keep the township’s tax rate at 8 mills while also maintaining services for residents. Their last tax increase was in 2014.

“We just try to be as responsible as we can and keep everything in line,” he said. “Our goal is to continue services we’ve offered for years and make the budget work.”

Next year’s agenda doesn’t include any large purchases or projects aside from the annual road paving, which the supervisors will plan in the spring. The supervisors also passed a street light budget of $27,244, fire protection fund of $153,295, sewer fund of $1,867,900 and liquid fuels fund of $578,835. The liquid fuels fund is an allocation of state funds from gas taxes, which can be used for road paving, and the street light fund is a tax on homes near street lights, used to maintain those lights. The township’s sewer customers will also avoid a sewer rate increase next year.

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