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Slippery Rock’s proposed budget sees no tax increase, includes funding increase to library

Slippery Rock borough could be entering its seventh consecutive year without a property tax increase, based on its proposed 2024 budget. The borough also plans to hire a full-time laborer and police officer.

The proposed balanced budget of $1,183,290 states that Slippery Rock Community Library could see an increase in funding from $4,055 to $5,088 if the proposed budget is adopted Dec. 19.

Mirroring a national trend, the budget shows Slippery Rock’s revenue from real estate transfer taxes is projected to decrease by $55,000, from $90,000 in 2023 to $35,000.

Borough manager Christian Laskey said the transfer tax is anticipated to be lower in part because fewer houses are selling.

“We took a big hit unfortunately with the interest rates going up,” Laskey said.

Police

To make the hire of a fourth full-time police officer possible in 2024, Laskey also said the borough would cut some part-time police hours. This is reflected in the proposed budget, which lists police salaries as $189,800 compared to last year’s amount of $200,000. Additionally, expenditures for part-time police officers are $10,000, compared to $32,000 in 2023.

Materials and supplies for police officers, however, have increased by about $2,719. The increase can be attributed to licensing fees and maintenance requirements for police equipment, Laskey said.

Roads

The proposed budget also shows expenditures for road construction and paving have increased to $8,615 from $3,500 in 2023. The increase is not specific to the borough and is reflected statewide, Laskey said.

“The problem is the majority of road infrastructure — paving, tar and chipping — is paid for with liquid fuels money that comes from the state,” Laskey said.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the state’s oil franchise tax supports liquid fuels dollars, which, in turn, help municipalities maintain locally owned roads, streets and bridges.

With people driving less, the rise of more fuel-efficient vehicles and a decrease in gas tax revenue, Laskey said municipalities such as Slippery Rock must allocate more money in their budgets for routine street maintenance and repairs.

“It’s a statewide problem,” Laskey said.

The proposed 2024 budget is subject to change, Laskey said. The document is available for review on the borough’s website and at the borough building.

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