No tax increase in Cranberry this year By Rachel Wagoner Eagle Staff Writer
CRANBERRY TWP — Township residents will again see a flat tax rate in the 2018 proposed budget.
The $77.1 million spending plan includes projects at North Boundary Park and expanding the police force.
The township board of supervisors held a workshop meeting Wednesday to discuss the budget. They will vote Thursday to advertise a proposed budget.
The millage rate will remain at 13.25. The value of a mill increased again in 2018, from $395,980 in 2017 to $405,376. That is thanks to the new construction in the township, said Vanessa Gleason, finance director for the township.
“It goes up every year,” Gleason said. “It was just striking.”
A Cranberry resident with a household income of $94,000 and a property assessed at $24,500 would pay $789 in property and earned income taxes to the township — about 2 percent of their total tax bill, according to township budget documents.
Public safety makes up the largest chunk of the $23.1 million general fund budget at $6 million. As part of a two-year plan to add four officers to the force that started last year, two patrolmen positions will be added in 2018, Gleason said.
Officials are also looking to replace two marked cars and one unmarked car in the police department’s fleet.
Public works makes up the second-largest part of the general fund budget at $5.4 million. In 2018, $1.2 million is budgeted for road maintenance.
Jerry Andree, township manager, said one of their concerns is the rising costs of road maintenance materials. This year the township used some new techniques for road maintenance, doing more preventive work like micro sealing and crack sealing than complete repaving work.
Dan Santoro, assistant township manager, said the new micro sealing program went well last year, and they are looking to pursue it aggressively in 2018.
The playground by the waterpark in North Boundary Park will be replaced. Pete Geis, township parks and recreation director, said it the oldest playground in the township and the last of the old wooden-style playgrounds.
The project is partically funded already by at state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant, Geis said. The township is hosting the state municipal league conference in 2018, which may give the township another opportunity to get additional grant funding through the DCNR, he said. Construction on that will likely begin in fall 2018.
The township is also working on an agreement with the Seneca Valley Soccer Association to look into putting artificial turf on three soccer fields in the park, Geis said. The association will pay for design services to gauge the ability and cost for those fields to have artifical turf and lights installed, he said.
Turf fields would extend the playable season on the fields, Geis said.
The township is also contributing $300,000 to the Cranberry Township Community Chest’s 2018 project of the year, a championship disc golf course and nature trail in North Boundary Park. The CTCC is raising $300,000 for the project that will be built on 36 acres of the western part of the park on an undeveloped hillside.
Water and sewer rates will remain the same, but solid waste fees will increase by 25 cents on July 1. The township is also budgeting $40,000 to phase in replacement garbage carts in 2018. Andree said the township has 25,000 carts out in the township.
As the project to upgrade and expand the Brush Creek Water Pollution Control Facility winds down, they want to take a hard look at the operations of the township’s sewer program. Gleason said they want to ensure they’re covering debt and operations the way they should be.
“The last three years, we’ve been solely focused on the plant expansion,” Andree said. “Now we need to take a hard look at the operations side ... We don’t want to be in a position where we’re playing catch-up.”