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Government, The Neighborhood Files Cranberry Officials Approve 2012 Budget with 2.35- Mill Tax Increase
Supervisors raise taxes for the first time in eight years. By Kristy Snyder Email the author 6:05 am Email Print Comment In a 4-1 vote, Cranberry's board of supervisors officially adopted the 2012 budget with a 2.35-mill increase in real estate taxes. Supervisor Dave Root voted against the finalized $16.5 million budget, which will raise real estate taxes from 10.65 to 13 mills. On average, homeowners will pay an annual increase of about $64, township officials said. The majority of the money will be distributed to several funds. The Cranberry Public Library will receive 0.25 mills, as will the Cranberry Volunteer Fire Company. One mill will be used to create a public buildings fund, and 0.85 mill will go to the road maintenance equipment fund. “It’s very transparent,” Supervisor Mike Manipole said of the budget. “It’s very great to look at a budget and be able to know pretty much to the dollar where that money is being spent.” Upon comparing Cranberry's expenditures to budgets in neighboring communities, Manipole said he found the township to have the clearest sense of where the money is to be spent. Blaming inflation for much of the millage increase, he called Cranberry a leader across the state for its creativity in finding grants and other options to pay for projects. “There’s not a person up here who wants to raise taxes,” he said. Still, Root believes officials could have found ways to cut costs without raising taxes. The former Navy fighter pilot -who also voted against the preliminary budget -- said he balanced similar tough budgets while still in the military. “Even though it seemed untenable, [and] it seemed like we could not surmount this problem, when push came to shove, we always found ways to get there,” he said. He suggested cutting personnel and trimming the $95,000 spent annually on the clubhouse at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course. He also proposed supervisors give up their yearly stipend of $4,000 each. At the meeting, he signed paperwork to forgo his share, which he usually donates to charity. “There are ways to do it when you are forced to do it,” he said. “I didn’t think we had enough forcing function here.” Several community members also spoke out against the tax increase. Dan Page suggested the township hold off on road maintenance for a few years. In response, Manipole and Supervisor Dick Hadley said waiting would only cost more in the long run because of deteriorated road conditions and increasing inflation rates. James Wood also pleaded with officials not to raise taxes. “For those that I see come through the door of my shop that are less fortunate – the elderly, those that don’t have much – I beseech you,” he said. “Don’t raise the tax money.” Supervisors voting in favor of the budget said the increase was needed to ensure Cranberry remains a lucrative and attractive place to both residents and outsiders. 12/16/2011
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