South Fayette raises taxes one mill
Rather than charge residents a garbage fee, the South Fayette Township commission passed its $9.70 million 2016 budget and opted to raise taxes by one mill to help fund needed repairs on the municipality’s 65 miles of roads.
The decision to raise property taxes by one mill came after a number of residents told township commissioners for more than 90 minutes at the Dec. 9 meeting that the proposed $214.92 annual garbage fee would be too much of a burden on some in the township who are already finding it tough to pay bills and put food on the table. Besides township residents expressing their opposition to the fee at the township meeting, Ryan Eggleston, the township manager, said there have been more than 1,000 visits to the township’s budget web page and the majority said they were against the proposed charge.
The property tax increase amounts to less than $200 a year for a township resident and can be a tax write-off, unlike the proposed garbage fee. Seniors, age 66 and older, would have been exempt from the garbage fee, Eggleston said.
“This is a decision we are not taking lightly,” said commission president Joseph Horowitz. “It has kept me up at night.”
Instead, a portion of the one mill increase, which will bring the property tax rate in the township to 4.48 mills, will generate an additional $1.14 million in revenue, most of which will be earmarked toward road improvements. This is the first time in 16 years that property taxes have been raised by the township.
“Taxes have remained stagnant,” said commissioner Jessica Cardillo. “Costs have gone up.”
In other matters, retiring South Fayette police officers Lt. Robert Kurta and patrolman Joseph Staniszewski, who have each been with the township police department for 30 years, were honored for their long service to the municipality. Staniszewski has been with the department for 37 1/2 years, while Kurta has been a member for 33 1/2 years. Each man was awarded a plaque by Chief John Phoennick.