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Fox Chapel’s 2023 proposed budget holds the line on real estate taxes – TribLIVE

Strong earned income tax collection and a projected year-end surplus for 2022 has put Fox Chapel officials in a position to hold the line on real estate taxes next year, according to council Vice President Harrison Lauer.

“The EIT was about $600,000 over budget, tremendous year,” he said at the Nov. 21 meeting. “Lots of reasons undoubtedly behind that. Some of that is going to carry over in future years.

“We had unexpected disaster relief from the 2018 flood, about $200,000. The two combined nearly account for all of the budget surplus. Counteracting that, inflation certainly affected the expenses that the borough experienced. Our numbers probably would have even been better if not for the high inflation this past year.”

The millage rate is expected to remain at 2.95 mills. Borough Manager Gary Koehler said real estate taxes have not changed since 2019.

He said the borough is anticipating an $881,000 surplus at the end of this year, roughly $670,000 more than original budget projections.

Some $220,000 of the $881,000 will be used to finish guide rail projects and complete improvements to McCahill Park that were not addressed this year due to permit issues, Lauer said.

Council voted 5-0 to advertise its 2023 preliminary budget. Councilman Thomas Karet attended meeting, but left prior to the budget vote. Councilwoman Sarah Hanna was absent.

Projected revenue was listed at $8,987,200 and expenses at $8,981,400, with an anticipated surplus of $5,800 at the end of 2023.

Income includes about $3.6 million in property taxes; $4.02 million in local enabling taxes, such as earned income and occupation privilege; $511,100 in interfund operating transfers; $168,000 in state shared revenue and entitlements; $140,000 in business licenses and permits; $94,500 in state capital and operating grants; $82,000 in interest earnings and $30,000 in rents and royalties.

Expenses include about $4 million for public works; $2.274 million for public safety; $988,900 for general government; $653,000 for recreation/library; $109,000 for employer-paid benefits and withholdings; $117,000 for other insurance and $321,000 to repay debt.

The borough budgeted a little more than $1 million for paving next year. Particular streets have yet to be determined.

Lauer said the borough is in the third of a five-year contract with garbage collector Vogel Disposal Service. It is set to expire in February 2026. The borough budgeted about $884,000 for sanitation for next year.

Grants have helped with numerous projects over the years, which has helped to staving off tax increases, he said.

“A lot of public money has helped fund the borough’s operations,” he said.

Council went into executive session at the end of the Nov. 21 meeting to discuss employee salaries.

Lauer said he does not anticipate any major changes to the budget prior to its scheduled Dec. 19 adoption.

The proposed budget is available for review at the borough office, 401 Fox Chapel Road.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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