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TMCNet:  West Hazleton amends budget [Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa. :: ]

[February 05, 2014]

West Hazleton amends budget [Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa. :: ]

(Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 05--West Hazleton Borough Council voted to amend its 2014 budget to account for $299,000 in expenses that were omitted from an earlier draft due to a computer error, the borough council president said.


But the changes will have no impact on tax rates, officials said.

Council reopened its budget on Tuesday and rebalanced its 2014 budget after officials who were combing through the document found that $299,000 was omitted from a version forwarded to Pennsylvania Economy League, council President Mark Yeager said.

Council on Tuesday voted to use a mix of Liquid Fuels funds, a grant and money from a cash reserve to balance the spending plan. The amended budget will have no impact on tax rates, which will not change from figures that were released in December, Yeager said.

According to Yeager, officials discovered the discrepancy after the borough developed its 2014 budget with different software than what Pennsylvania Economy League uses. Consultants with PEL work with the borough to develop budgets.

As a result, $299,000 in expenditures were omitted from an earlier budget due to a "computer mistake," Yeager said.

Joe Boyle of PEL said Tuesday that the borough had a "sufficient cash balance" available after council developed an earlier 2014 budget. Officials used that money on Tuesday to balance the spending plan, he said.

"We made those corrections and the budget is still balanced," Boyle said.

A budget approved by council maintains all existing employees and includes a local match for a state grant that the borough will use for renovating the Fifth Street Playground.

The budget eliminates the $10 per capita tax but makes up for that lost revenue with a property tax increase that will cost homeowner an additional $7 to $8 per year, officials recently said.

Tax rates subsequently increased from 2.06 mills in 2013 to 2.25 mills this year. An additional 1.23 mills levied for the debt service fund has not changed.

When accounting for both general and debt service funds, the total real estate millage rate will increase from 3.29 mills a year ago to 3.48 mills in 2014.

sgalski@standardspeaker.com ___ (c)2014 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) Visit the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) at standardspeaker.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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