Tax increase, roadwork in new Denver budget

By on November 30, 2011

By: KIMBERLY MARSELAS Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Denver Borough officials continue to tweak their 2012 budget, though changes discussed Monday night will not affect a previous decision to hike property taxes.

In October, council approved a proposed budget that included a .25 mill real estate tax increase. The increase was in large part due to falling earned income tax revenues, which were again adjusted this week.

This year, the borough expected $355,000 in payments from the county’s tax collection bureau. But that number was projected to drop to $328,000 in 2012 because the county will disburse funding on a different timeline. At Monday’s meeting, borough Manager Mike Hession said his latest estimate is that 2012 earned income receipts will fall even lower to $310,755.

Council also conditionally approved an additional $61,000 in road work in the borough, which will be funded by a transfer from the borough’s general fund reserves. A major repaving job on Franklin Street between Fourth Street and the Burkholder farm had been budgeted at $88,000. But a new engineer’s proposal put the actual price tag at $149,376.

Council debated splitting the work over two years, but president Kevin Brandt said it "makes sense" to use money from the reserves to get the project done in 2012. Hession said the borough expects to have a fund balance of about $150,000 at the end of 2011, though that money may still be needed for emergency expenses.

In other budget news, Hession said he now expects the borough will receive nearly $40,000 in federal and state reimbursements for repairs following Tropical Storm Lee. Some of that money will be used to reopen the Denver Skate Park, which was inundated by flood waters.

The budget also now includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for non-union employees, rather than the three percent originally planned. Council Monday adopted a related wage and compensation schedule for 2012 that sets salaries for Hession at $81,954 and 11 other employees including public works and maintenance crews paid hourly rates of $9 to $22.08.

Council is expected to adopt the final version of the budget in December.

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