South Fayette commissioners approved the township’s 2019 budget without a tax increase during their Dec. 12 meeting.
The township’s property tax rate will remain at 4.73 mills, even though its budget is nudging up from 2018’s $11.6 million to $12.1 million in 2019.
The budget was approved at a transitional moment for South Fayette as it awaits the arrival of new manager John M. Barrett, who was hired last month at a salary of $123,000. Barrett is replacing Ryan T. Eggleston, who departed earlier this year for a job in Morehead City, N.C. Barrett will be starting his new job after the first of the year.
The approval of the budget comes after a year marked by growth for the township, with South Fayette having hired two additional police officers in 2018. It also added an emergency management intern and expanded its summer camp staff by two. In April, the township opened Preservation Park, a $2 million project just outside Oakdale Borough that has three athletic fields and a half-mile walking trail.
The budget document also identified challenges South Fayette is facing in the new year, including traffic congestion and the need to upgrade its roads; municipal facilities that are aging and in need of repairs; a lack of space for township programming and community events; and the increasing costs of health insurance and pensions.
Also in 2019, the township will continue to look at what to do with the site of the former Star City multiplex, which is located off Millers Run Road near Interstate 79. The township purchased the property almost 10 years ago, with an eye toward making the defunct moviehouse a community center. The theater has since been torn down, and a market analysis has been undertaken to determine the best use of the property.