Despite the challenging and uncertain economic environment resulting from the response to COVID-19, Upper St. Clair Township has a balanced 2021 budget with no tax increase.
On Monday, township commissioners voted unanimously to adopt next year’s $22.2 million spending plan. The real estate tax rate will remain at 3.83 mills and the earned income tax rate at 0.8% for the 12th consecutive year.
Allegheny County Sanitary Authority is scheduled to increase its billing rate for wastewater treatment by 7% in 2021. To help absorb some of that increase, the Township’s sewer rate multiplier will be reduced from 2.00 to 1.93.
“This budget represents the effort of township staff and the board of commissioners to continue delivering consistent, high-quality services and programs for the residents and businesses of Upper St. Clair in a cost-effective manner amidst one of the most challenging periods of time ever experienced,” township manager Matthew Serakowski said.
In his budget message to commissioners, he wrote, “Due to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 budget process began earlier than usual. When it became clear in March that the local, state, and national response to the pandemic would result in significant economic disruption, staff immediately focused on ways to mitigate the potential negative impact on the township budget.”
The budget message also contains a series of items on the township’s radar for the coming year, including:
- Taking a significant step toward determining the future use of the municipal building, a project that was delayed from 2020. Key focus areas include physical improvements to the library and police department. The project is likely to require bond financing.
- Partnering with the state Department of Transportation on a two-year plan to improve the traffic signals along Route 19, with four more intersections slated for 2021. Township staff also will work with PennDOT to coordinate its project at the intersection of McLaughlin Run, McMillan and Lesnett roads, which will result in the first roundabout in Upper St. Clair.
- Continuing to dedicate funding to stormwater management efforts, with the 2021 budget appropriating $500,000 to the Storm Sewer Fund for projects dedicated to improving stormwater management systems and complying with the unfunded federal mandates tied to Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System regulations being faced by all municipalities throughout the United States.
The township again received recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada during the year. The GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting was received for the 32nd time.
The township also received its 12th consecutive GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. Upper St. Clair is one of only five municipalities in the state to receive the award. The 2021 budget document continues to meet the GFOA’s award criteria.