No tax increase proposed for 2023
The proposed municipal budget for 2023 is in the hands of the Commission, who will hold budget workshops beginning at 6 p.m., on December 1 and December 5, and a public hearing before voting to adopt the plan at the December 13 Commission meeting, at 8 p.m. You can attend the workshops in person or on Zoom.
Mt. Lebanon increased real estate tax by 0.2 mills in 2022—to 4.91 mills—with the goal of increasing the municipality’s financial resiliency, allowing for the capacity to respond to rising costs of goods and services. No increase is proposed for next year. A mill is $1 of tax money for every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value. Since Allegheny County has not reassessed properties in the municipality since 2013, property assessment revenues remain flat.
Additionally, no increases are planned for earned income and real estate transfer taxes, or for municipal rates for sanitary or stormwater management fees.
The total combined budget for all funds for 2023 is $56.9 million, and the recommended operating budget totals $37.1 million. The operating budget funds the day-to-day operation of the municipality, and covers areas such as personnel costs, facility and infrastructure maintenance, utilities, insurance and other costs. The remainder of the funding is from the capital improvements budget, a multi-year document that provides for the purchase of one-time, high-expense items, or projects that span more than a one-year timeframe.
Mt. Lebanon uses a process called zero-based budgeting to plan out the year’s expenditures. Zero-based budgeting begins with listing the minimum operating level for each service, such as street sweeping or crossing guard coverage; each additional level of service comes at an incremental cost. Then the various levels are ranked in order of overall priority of importance.
Following the completion of the municipality’s parks master plan this year, several projects are recommended for funding in the preliminary budget, including $81,000 for improvements to Brafferton Park and $63,000 for replacement of fall zone materials in Mt. Lebanon Park.
Funds for maintenance and repairs to municipal facilities include $275,000 for tennis court reconstruction, a portion of which will be paid by the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Association. Façade weatherproofing for the 20-year-old Public Safety Center will account for $200,000 this year, the first of a multi-year project, and $29,500 for an emergency generator for the library. All of these projects are listed in the capital improvements budget.
Street and sewer infrastructure account for a healthy chunk of the budget, with $1.6 million allocated to street reconstruction, $3.85 million toward sanitary sewer improvements, and $151,100 toward storm sewer improvements. Mt. Lebanon was the first community in western Pennsylvania to institute a storm sewer fund. Over the last decade, that fund has enabled Mt. Lebanon to complete many impactful projects around the community that have abated areas that previously saw flooding. The municipality needs to budget for additional investment in its storm sewer system over the next decade. In order to have a sustainable and resilient infrastructure through responsible maintenance and expansion of our storm sewers, the municipality will be increasing the stormwater fee, beginning in 2024 and increasing annually over the next decade. This will allow the municipality to adequately fund the number of currently identified projects to collect and control stormwater.
Other notable budget items:
• $193,340 for a new public works camera van
• $189,000 for three police vehicles
• $134,000 for street furniture for the Vibrant Uptown streetscape project
• $105,000 for an animal control truck and a new kennel
Hard copies of the Manager’s 2023 Recommended Budget are available at the library and the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building, and the budget can be viewed online.