By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Hermitage commissioners adopted the city’s 2014 budgets Wednesday, doing something they have done for more than two decades – holding the line on real estate taxes.
Other taxes and fees, particularly sanitary sewer fees, haven’t stayed so steady, but there are no increases planned for the new year.
Real estate taxes remain at 5 mills. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value; assessments are a property’s 1970 market value.
The majority of the $11,480,008 general fund budget comes from the 1.75-percent earned income tax.
The budget includes more than $2 million devoted to public improvement projects, primarily roads, storm water drainage systems and recreation areas.
“I’m real impressed with the way the administration put this together,” said Commissioner Duane J. Piccirilli.
Commissioner Rita L. Ferringer thanked the department heads for making the budget process “smooth sailing.”
The budget was the last prepared by Finance Director Jami Kirila, who is resigning.
“She has been responsible for developing our financial structure,” City Manager Gary P. Hinkson said, adding that city audits have been “clean” during her 18 years.
“You will be missed,” Piccirilli said.
Kirila is being replaced by Sherry Iversen, who worked with Kirila during the budget process.
“The good thing is we’re extremely fortunate to have someone with the talent and qualities of Sherry as the new finance director,” Hinkson said.
Iversen leaves the role of finance supervisor and previously was earned income tax collector.
In addition to the general fund budget, commissioners adopted these budgets:
• Capital reserve, for equipment and improvements to the city building, $552,000.
• Construction fund, for storm sewer, streets and other public improvements, economic development, LindenPointe business park operations and debt payments, $2,587,313.
• Sanitary sewer utility fund, $7,018,339.
• Highway aid fund, with income coming from gas taxes collected by the state, $387,991.
• LindenPointe facilities fund, $85,512.
• Vested sick leave, $267,872.
• Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency loan, $27,755.
• Capital improvement fund, from which the city will pay for a parking lot expansion at the athletic complex on South Darby Road, $763,741.
• Oil and gas reserve fund, a new fund for impact fees collected by the state from drillers and royalties from drillers for leasing city-owned land, $95,501. Much of this money will be used at Stull Farm Community Environmental Park, Sample Road.
• Tax-incremental finance safety fund, used to offset the costs of safety service responses at the Kohl’s development, $47,668.