Updated: Jan 13, 2021
By Chadwick Dolgos
Property taxes in Crafton will be going up in 2021.
Council voted Dec. 14 to increase taxes for the 2021 fiscal year from 7.59 to 8.59 mills, with 6.17 mills earmarked for the borough’s general purpose fund and 2.42 mills allocated for a “Special Road Improvement Fund.” Crafton last increased taxes in 2016.
A Crafton property owner can now expect to pay $859 per $100,000 of property valuation. The increase passed by a 5-2 vote, with council’s Anthony Saba and Fred Amendola opposing.
“Given that the school district has once again raised our property taxes this year, we are now one of the highest in the county.” Saba said, hoping to hold off on the tax increase until the economy recovered from the effects of the pandemic. In July, the Carlynton district increased school property taxes by 1.6076 mills or about $160 per $100,000 property valuation.
The $5.24 million balanced budget represents a 12.98% increase from Crafton’s 2020 budget.
With the tax increase in place and revenues collected through goods and services provided by the borough, the council anticipates an 11.45% increase in total revenues for 2021.
The most significant change made to Crafton’s budget from the previous year was to administrative staff. The budget shows increases of 50.81%, from $253,391 in 2020 to $382,150 for 2021.
“Council currently has no immediate plans to post any management level positions,” said President Phillip Levasseur. “We will evaluate our staffing needs during the first and second quarter of 2021.”
The 2021 budget shows Crafton’s manager receiving an 18.66% raise, while the borough’s assistant manager was allocated an annual salary of $82,500. No salary was budgeted for an assistant borough manager during the previous three fiscal years.
Later during the meeting where these budgetary changes were adopted a “release and separation agreement” between the borough and Manager Russell McKibben was approved. Assistant Manager Doug Sample hired July 27 was also elevated to interim manager. No public discussion was permitted on either topic.
Crafton’s 2021 budget provides the council with the flexibility to allocate additional project management resources as they deem necessary, said Levasseur.
“Crafton has been awarded large grants from ALCOSAN and grants from other agencies for various improvements throughout the borough,” Levasseur said.
“Project management is critical in ensuring that these investments in our community are delivered according to specification, budget and schedule.”