Cumberland supervisors adopt budget with no tax increases

December 3, 2012

CARMICHAELS – Cumberland Township supervisors adopted a 2013 budget Monday that takes into account new natural gas impact fee revenue and calls for no increase in taxes.

The supervisors approved a $4,739,218 budget, that is more than $2 million greater than the current budget as a result of new revenue from the Act 13 natural gas impact fee.

The township last month received $1,039,586 in impact fee revenue from the state as part of the first disbursement of Act 13 money.

The supervisors also have been informed if drilling in the township continues at the current rate to expect another check for about the same amount in June.

That money, too, will be budgeted for 2013, though the supervisors have decided to place the second disbursement in a reserve fund until they decide how it will be used.

The supervisors plan to use the initial impact fee disbursement for roads and equipment and for projects impacting the safety and welfare of the community.

They held a public meeting to receive comments on the budget Oct. 23 though no one attended the meeting.

The supervisors presented a spending plan for the initial impact fee money when approving a tentative budget last month. The only change from that time, Supervisor Bill Grove said, involved an increased allocation for the police department.

The supervisors raised the amount for the police department from $275,000 to $339,000.

The money, which will come from a reserve fund set up with the first impact fee check, will help cover officers’ salaries and new equipment, including a car, firearms and spike strips.

In preparation for receiving the initial impact fee money, the supervisors also had asked each township fire department to present its needs to the township.

Carmichaels-Cumberland will receive $100,000 for a new truck; Crucible, $46,200 for a brush truck and equipment; Nemacolin, $40,000 for a new used truck; and Rices Landing, which serves part of the township, $10,000 for a brush truck.

The township also will spend $100,000 of the initial impact fee disbursement for a new backhoe and $122,000 for a new chipper. In addition, $50,000 will be added to the highway budget and $65,000 will be added to the gasoline and diesel fuel budget.

The township also earmarked $107,000 for improvements at Wana B Park; and $20,000 for updating the township zoning ordinance.

The remaining money form the first disbursement, $40,386, will be placed in the reserve fund.

Resident Cindy Cumpston reiterated comments she made last month that some of the money should be used to help the Carmichaels Municipal Authority improve its water system.

Act 13 money is to be used to address impacts of the drlling industry and clean water should be a priority, she said. The supervisors earlier said they would consider the matter.

Under the new budget, property taxes in the township will remain at 3 mills.

In other business, the supervisors decided against adopting an ordinance outlawing jake brakes in the township. Jake brakes are compression release engine brakes.

Such a restriction would require the township to erect more than 60 signs and would be difficult to control and enforce, Groves sad.

State roads in the township also would be a problem because the state allows jake brakes to be used in areas where the grade is four percent or greater, he said.

The supervisors had received a petition signed by about 40 residents asking that jake brakes be banned in the township.

The supervisors approved a heavy hauling agreement for all township roads with McDonald Land Services, which will be conducting seismic testing in the area.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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