Despite objections by two council members to hiring a full-time firefighter, Canonsburg Borough Council adopted its 2013 budget Monday night, which calls for a tax increase.
The $4.9 million budget includes a salary for the borough’s first full-time firefighter.
The tax rate will increase by one mill for a total of 38.33 mills in real estate tax.
Of that, 30 mills is designated for general purposes; 2 mills for a special road fund; 2.33 mills for debt service; 1 mill for parks and recreation; and 3 mills for the fire department.
Councilman Tim Bilsky said the fire department has about $2 million in assets and could afford to hire a firefighter.
“I feel the same way,” said Councilman Paul Sharkady, who noted they were giving the fire department $132,000 a year with the 3 mills. “I think if they want a paid fireman, they should pay for it themselves and not put the burden on the taxpayers.”
Sharkady further added he opposed the one-mill increase in the budget. That mill has been designated for parks and recreation.
Also voting against the budget was Councilwoman Fran Coleman, but she did not comment.
Half of the salary for the firefighter will be paid through a federal grant. Council split its vote last month on whether to put the firefighter’s salary in the budget. Mayor David Rhome cast the deciding vote, saying it was a matter of safety since the number of volunteer firefighters has dwindled.
President John Bevec was not present at the meeting but voted by telephone as he was driving back to the borough.
At the start of the meeting, council approved a resolution that would allow members to vote by telephone if they were called away on business.