Peters Township in “pretty good shape” manager tells chamber

Published Apr 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm (Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm)

Real estate taxes have gone up only one mill in Peters Township since 1988, and the future looks financially stable, said Michael Silvestri, township manager, during his annual state of the township address to members of the Peters Township Chamber of Commerce April 9 at the Rolling Hills Country Club.

The 2014 budget of $18 million was balanced with a $10 million surplus and no tax increase, Silvestri said. In 2013, 371 homes were sold – 10 down from 2012 – and the average sale price was $374,000, up $25,000 from 2012.

There are several new residential developments in the planning or construction stage, along with additional phases of existing housing development in the works.

The Valley Brook Road realignment and reconstruction is a project through the state Department of Transportation, using $800,000 of township money, and despite some previous delays, is on schedule to be completed by Labor Day, Silvestri said. He is working to have the project completed ahead of time, but he does not remain optimistic. Currently, additional dirt is being trucked in as PennDOT vetoed the quality of on-site soil.

If there is a negative side in the township, the allocated winter maintenance budget has just 25 percent of the funds remaining, as only 75 percent was spent clearing the roads, Silvestri said. If the first few months of winter in 2014 are mild, funds can be stretched, however, the township must still order its entire salt supply at the beginning of the season.

In the future, Silvestri said, several commercial projects are planned and are in various stages of approval, including Bowser Cadillac at the site of the former Sears Service Center, expansion of South Hills Honda, two new eateries at the site of the former Savvy Fox, Dunkin’ Donuts planned for the rear of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, and a veterinary clinic and pet spa next to Stephen’s Hair Graphics. All are on or near Washington Road.

The anticipated replacement of the Donaldson’s Crossroads sewage treatment plant in 2015 will open additional sewer tap-ins and should be an asset to future development in the area.

Washington County reassessment is ongoing, with new figures implemented in 2016, Silvestri said. Figures should be available in 2016 to permit property owners to file appeals if desired.

While there is no gas drilling currently occurring in the township, Silvestri told the chamber members he believes that it is merely a matter of time – a year or so – before a permit application is filed. Already seismic testing was completed, mainly in the eastern portion of the township, with another company expected to request similar testing soon.

When drilling begins to occur in the township, Silvestri said he expects the backlash to be “controversial and disruptive.”

With earned incomes taxes higher than anticipated, and gaming and natural gas revenues coming in, Silvestri said the township is in “pretty good shape,” adding new commercial properties, including the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center and the Giant Eagle Market District, helped to keep the township financially sound.

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