No tax hike in Cranberry budget

Cranberry Township property owners got some good news this week.

Preliminary figures for the 2019 township budget show no property tax hike will be needed to shore up next year’s spending plan.

“It’s a balanced budget that won’t require a tax hike,” township manager Chad Findlay said at a supervisors meeting Thursday.

The budget package comes a year after the supervisors voted for a tax cut in late 2017. That tax bill decrease amounted to a one-half mill savings with the millage rate dropping from 2.94 mills to 2.44 mills.

It translated into a 2018 tax levy of about $244 on a $100,000 property and reflected a $50 savings in taxes. It was the first tax cut in several years for the township.

In 2013, the supervisors hiked the millage rate by a full mill and that marked the first tax increase in a decade.

The 2019 budget doesn’t include any reduction in personnel or services.

Water account is higher

Findlay said the 2019 budget is pegged at $6,395,197 and includes a broad swath of accounts that includes the general fund, fire department payment, water and sewage funds, street light account and liquid fuels monies.

While carrying no tax hike, the full budget figure is considerably higher than the current level of $5 million.

The difference is a one-time amount of about $1.2 million earmarked for a water line replacement project along a portion of Route 62.

“It goes into the budget as funding from PennVEST (loan) and then will go out to pay for the work,” said Findlay.

At Thursday’s meeting, the supervisors signed off on a $1.1 million PennVEST loan to install a new water line that will extend from the bottom of Seneca Hill along Route 62 to the Kwik Fill gasoline station, the point where municipal water service ends.

The new 8-inch line will be constructed along the highway with work scheduled to begin in 2019.

Mike Erwin, the township utility manager, said the project was prompted by “many (line) breaks down there.” Adding a new and larger line there could eventually offer an expansion of municipal water services, he said.

There are no other major projects included in the proposed 2019 budget, said Findlay.

“We are going to tear down the property out front, which we bought, but it will just be site work done for the time being,” he said. “We are going to do some repairs to our existing building and the shop but there are no plans yet to build anything new.”

Township supervisors Harold Best, Fred Buckholtz and Jerry Brosius will vote on the proposed budget in December.