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M AI NLI NE newspapers

No tax hike anticipated for Portage Borough in tenative 2019 budget Vol. 114 No. 48

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Portage Borough Council’s budget discussions began at its Nov. 19 meeting. Borough manager Bob Koban said there is no anticipation of any tax hike for this coming year. The borough millage is currently at 17 mills and is not expected to be changed for 2019. The mill rate is the amount of tax payable per dollar of assessed value of a property. One mill is equal to $1 in prop-

Portage, Pa.

erty tax, which is levied on every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. Property is taxed by more than one agency, and although the Portage Borough tax rate is 17 mills, Portage Area School District assessed property at an additional 48.5 mills. To determine the amount of tax money needed to be calculated, the borough takes its anticipated budget and subtracts known revenue sources such as income from services and state funding. This deficit is what is

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needed to be raised through property taxes. This amount is divided by the value of all the property in the borough. The result is multiplied by 1,000, and the answer represents the tax mill rate. Portage Borough estimates that the 17 mill property tax rate will bring in approximately $253,000. In addition, another $350,000 is brought in by income tax assessment. The total anticipated revenue for the borough is $881,414 SEE BUDGET, PAGE 4A

Braving the cold

Laiken Miller (left) and Natalie Croyle brave the cold and wind Nov. 21 to watch the Christmas tree lighting at the Berwind-Wayside Park in St. Michael. Photo by Ron Portash.

Don Bailey retires as FH football coach By Sean Wechtenhiser for Mainline Newspapers

After 45 years on the sideline, over 350 victories, and 10 district titles, Don Bailey submitted his resignation for retirement as head football coach to the Forest Hills School Board. The board accepted his resignation, effective at the end of the 2018 football season, at their Nov. 8 meeting. Bailey’s last game came on the following night, a 21-16 loss to Bald Eagle Area in the District 6AAA title game. Bailey had a career record of 375-120-8 over his 45 year career, a stellar .746 winning percentage. The Rangers won 10 district titles (1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2017) with Bailey at the helm. He led the 1994 team to the Class AA state championship game, losing to Mount SEE COACH, PAGE 3A


Olivia Richardson (left) Sierra Plummer and Briellee, Jennifer and Joseph Raptosh (front) excitedly wait for the arrival of Santa Claus at Berwind-Wayside Park Nov. 21. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage sewage rates to increase

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Area Sewer Authority discussed the 2019 budget at their meeting held Nov. 20. A motion was passed to raise sewer rates by 1 percent. This would raise the minimum sewer bill from $29.90 to $30.20. The authority members said that the small rate raise was necessary to keep up with the increasing costs of material and labor. The authority has several capital improvements on the draw-

ing board for the future. In order to save on costs, work on these projects, which include some line upgrades in the Portage Borough's Second Ward, will be done by authority employees and not bid out to contractors. This will save a significant amount of money in labor costs. Most projects bid out to contractors require government agencies, such as the sewer authority, to pay the contractor the prevailing wage when the project costs are over $25,000. These prevailing wage amounts are set by the Pa. Department of Labor and Industry. Class 1 laborers have the cheapest hourly rate on the list of $23.49 per hour, plus a fringe rate of $18.19, totaling $41.68 per hour. This is required to be paid by the government agency, even if that is not the wage

scale of the contractor. The prevailing wage adds significant amounts to any large project bid out by a governmental agency. The anticipated revenue for the 2019 budget is $1,333,625. Expenditures are listed as $1,262,375. The remaining $71,250 will be directed into the capital improvement fund to cover future work projects. These capital improvement projects are on the board in order to be proactive against growing enforcement from the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). By keeping ahead of ever increasing enforcement, the authority hopes to avoid undergoing forced improvements, mandatory work and penalties from environmental regulations, which would cost the taxpayers more than what a 1 percent raise covers.

Patiently waiting

Vern (left), Joseph and Jennifer Blazosky try to stay warm while awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus Nov. 21 at Berwind-Wayside Park in St. Michael. Photo by Ron Portash.

The Dispatch  
The Dispatch