Robinson officials vow not to raise taxes
By Jamie Wiggan
As they prepare to pass next year’s budget, Robinson officials anticipate income losses but vow not to raise taxes or cut services.
“We’re trying to be ultra-conservative with being able to hold the budget, but we want to be realistic as far as basing it on any false revenue that might be,” said Finance Committee Chair Ron Shiwarski during the township’s Nov. 2 business meeting.
Shiwarski said uncertainty over the ongoing economic fallout caused by the pandemic has led the finance committee to cut forecasted revenue by 7%. Next year’s budget, to be approved by commissioners before the close of the year, will total about $13.246 million.
To prevent service cuts or tax increases, Shiwarski said the township will dip into its $4.2 million reserve fund and will also halt spending on capital projects.
Shiwarski said several outstanding attempts to reassess corporate property values cast a further degree of uncertainty over next year’s income, but he promised the township would fight to keep a maximum share in the township’s books.
Also during the meeting, commissioners approved a final site development plan for an 84-unit housing development at the site of the former Forest Grove Elementary School.
The planned development, Villages at Forest Grove, will feature 42 duplex buildings within a 25-acre residential site.
Commissioner James Barefoot said the developer, Craft Pittsburgh USA, Inc., is set to close on the sale in January, with work to tear down the former school building starting in February.
Forest Grove Elementary closed in 2017 and has since remained the property of the Montour School District.
The sale, approved by the school board in April 2019, was initially set to close in early 2020 but the due diligence period has since been extended.