By Mary Spicer
Meadville City Council got its first glance at a 2014 budget proposal that holds city property taxes at their 2013 level of 20.42 mills — half a mill lower than 2012 — during its monthly study session Wednesday afternoon.
However, a budget with a zero-mill increase still needs to be trimmed, Council member Nancy Mangilo-Bittner told City Manager Joe Chriest and Finance Director Tim Groves following their presentation. As she sees it, city property owners should get an additional millage decrease to help offset the cost of the city’s stormwater management fee that went into effect in late 2012.
The current millage rate is 20.42 mills, with one mill equaling $1 for every $1,000 in assessed value. Without an increase, the owner of a residential property with the city’s median assessed value of $25,000 would continue to pay an annual property tax bill of $510.50. As of this year, the owner of every single-family detached residence is now paying an annual $90 stormwater management fee to help offset the cost of maintaining the city’s stormwater system. Owners of other structures are billed according to the square footage of impermeable surface area on their property.
Between now and when the budget is formally adopted, anything can change. Pennsylvania requires all municipalities to have their budgets in place no later than Dec. 31.
The first public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 5:45 p.m. in council chambers in the Meadville City Building. The hearing will be followed at 6 p.m. by a council study session focusing on portions of the budget allocating funds to Meadville Area Recreation Authority, the city’s police and fire departments and the parking fund.
The second public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 5:45 p.m., followed by council’s monthly meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting will be followed by a study session on the budget focusing on allocations for the city treasurer, city clerk, city manager, council and the city’s attorney as well as the finance and public works departments, general government revenues and special funds.
The first and second readings of the budget and tax ordinance are scheduled for council’s regularly-scheduled study session Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. Adoption is scheduled for council’s regularly-scheduled monthly meeting on Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.
In previous years, each department head has made a presentation to council during the budget study session during which their department was discussed. However, Councilmember Bob Langley suggested during Wednesday’s work session that eliminating the presentations would save time during the study sessions because a detailed budget request from each department head has already been included in the 125-page proposed budget report provided to each councilmember.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.