John K. Manna
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo introduced an $18.4 million budget for 2014 to city council Tuesday night.
The proposed spending plan, about $916,000 higher than the 2013 budget, requires no tax increase.
The general fund portion of the budget to cover daily operating expenses totals $15,229,085, which is about $868,000 higher than this year.
In his budget message, the mayor said the city is able to avoid a tax hike largely because wage tax revenue has increased substantially.
The city’s Act 47 coordinator originally proposed a one-mill increase in the property tax for 2013, but agreed to defer it when the mayor suggested using a portion of the funds the city received in Marcellus Shale gas leasing rights.
The coordinator also agreed that if the city were to find recurring sustainable revenue, the property tax would not have to be increased for 2014 and 2015 as well.
It was determined that wage tax revenue through the implementation of Act 32 meets criteria of recurring sustainable revenue, according to business administrator Stephanie Dean. One of the goals of Act 32, which centralized wage tax collections throughout the state, was to generate more revenue.
The current property tax is 11.726 mills.
On the spending side, the mayor is proposing increasing capital improvements from $375,000 this year to $840,000 in 2014. The capital improvements will be funded with some of the Marcellus Shale proceeds.
Some of the proposed projects include $100,000 for neighborhood stabilization, a paving program and a $300,000 down payment on a $580,000 fire truck.
Council will begin reviewing the budget at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.