Meadville Tribune

Local News

November 29, 2012

Still no tax hike in works in City of Meadville

MEADVILLE — With the city’s finance director crediting Meadville’s new stormwater management program with holding a 2-mill property tax increase at bay, a 2013 budget that holds the city’s property-tax rate at its current level has taken a major step toward final passage.

Plans call for first and second readings of the city’s proposed budget during council’s regularly-scheduled Dec. 5 study session, and the vote on final approval to take place during council’s monthly meeting on Dec. 19. Between now and then, anything can happen, but as of Wednesday night’s special council study session, a zero-mill property tax increase that would hold the rate at 20.92 mills looks like the direction things may go. With 1 mill equaling $1 for each $1,000 in a property’s assessed value, the owner of a Meadville residence with the median assessed value of $25,000 will receive a city property tax bill of $523.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, however, the city’s taxpayers had been about to be beneficiaries of a half-mill decrease. That was when Finance Director Tim Groves got a phone call from the PennPRIME Liability and Workers’ Compensation Trust, the city’s worker’s compensation carrier, advising him that cost of the city’s worker’s comp coverage will increase by $70,000 in 2013. With each mill bringing approximately $145,000 to $147,000 into the city coffers, the increase effectively eliminated the possibility of a tax break.

According to City Manager Joe Chriest, the increase is a result of the implementation of Firefighter Cancer Presumption Act 46, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett and has been in effect since July 2011. The act designates cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters and extends the period for filing claims to more than 11 years. The change tripled the cost of the city’s workmen’s compensation payment for its firefighters; in 2012, the cost of the fire share of the city’s workmen’s compensation bill was $35,000.

Another option that would have allowed council to reduce the city’s tax bill by an additional half mill by reducing the city’s fund balance by $75,000 was rejected by council as being shortsighted.

“If you take $75,000 out of the fund balance this year, then you start next year $75,000 down,” Groves explained.

City Manager Joe Chriest noted that maintaining the current fund balance at approximately $700,000 allowed the city to save money by not having to take measures such as issuing tax-anticipation notes to cover the period before property taxes are paid.

“Taking the fund balance just kicks the can down the road,” Mayor Christopher Soff said. “Eventually the city’s savings account will be depleted.”

As for the rest of the budget, “Without stormwater we would be looking at a 2-mill increase right now,” Groves replied when Councilmember Nancy Mangilo-Bittner complained that the newly-enacted stormwater management program and its accompanying fee did not seem to be reducing bills received by the city’s property-tax-paying owners.

 “I really thinned it as much as I could with realistic things we can live with year after year,” Groves added.

“The last thing I want to do is give a tax reduction and next year raise taxes by 2 mills,” Councilmember LeRoy Stearns observed.

Expressing disappointment that the current budget only manages to hold the current millage rate at the 2012 level but not reduce it, “I challenge anybody — anybody — to find any fat in this budget,” Soff said, calling on the general public to “show us how we can do this less expensively but continue the services everyone expects.”

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Text Only
Local News
  • Well inspectors trying to keep up during boom time

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 27, 2014

  • cycle Young stunt cyclist to bring show to 'Thunder'

    V-v-v-v-eroom! is the high-pitched whine from the Honda CBR 600 sport motorcycle as Steven Pilic rolls back the throttle and speeds down the asphalt. In one quick, smooth motion — just like you put one foot in front of the other — he shifts his weight forward on the handlebars, jumps from the bike’s foot pegs, lands his feet on the seat and pulls the 400-plus pounds of metal up onto its back wheel, using a combination of balance, brakes, clutch and speed to circle slowly at first and then faster and faster, tighter and tighter while doing a wheelie.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tornado watch issued for Crawford County

    The National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued a tornado watch for Crawford County.


    July 27, 2014

  • SUNDAY ISSUE: 'Free-range' parenting

    The case of a woman arrested after leaving her daughter at a park while she went to work is sparking discussion across South Carolina — and even the rest of the country.

    July 26, 2014

  • pymatuning History majors rule at Pioneer & Art Festival

    Those looking for living history exhibits at the 21st annual Pymatuning Pioneer & Art Festival weren’t disappointed Saturday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Organizers ready to stimulate Meadville with next weekend's Thunder in the City

    Started six years ago by Dave Stone, owner of Mickey’s Central Station, as an event to “increase commerce and stimulate the economy,” the annual Thunder in the City Classic Car and Motorcycle Show in Meadville has done that — and lots more.

    July 25, 2014

  • Conneautville celebrating 200 years

    Thursday was a relaxed opening day at the Conneautville Bicentennial Celebration, but things will get hopping today — literally. A frog jumping contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    July 25, 2014

  • PennDOT seeking outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stabbing charges dismissed against Bloomfield woman

    A Bloomfield Township woman accused of stabbing her live-in companion last month is a free woman after the alleged victim in the case didn’t appear in court Wednesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Guys Mills boy wins national PBS Kids Writers Contest

    July 24, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide