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But city cautions that water, sewerage bills may go up
Duquesne home and business owners aren’t expected to see a property tax increase in 2024, but they “may” see sewage and water rates go up.
The proposed 2024 budget approved at Tuesday’s meeting sets spending for the year at $1.15 million, roughly the same as the 2023 budget. The spending plan is available for review on the city’s website.
The city’s proposed budget will be presented to the public again at a council meeting on Dec. 19 before council votes to approve it.
Councilwoman Elaine Washington noted that a “full staff” of municipal workers have been doing a “good job picking up trash and painting city hall.” She also noted that workers have been “doing what we need to do” to keep the city “clean and clear.”
Councilman Aaron Adams said that the city’s water testing has been “all clear” for the past month and fluorine levels were within the threshold of where they need to be for residents. He also said that there were no water main breaks in November; however, on Dec. 1 there was one in the city.
Adams said that work on the city’s pump stations continues according to plan and all pump stations have been installed and are working. “Things are moving along,” he said, two months after the city had had concerns about a contractor’s progress.
Adams added officials are waiting to hear from the state Public Utilities Commission about a possible increase in sewage rates that has been proposed by Pennsylvania-American Water Co., but he says rates “may” meaning “probably” will go up. “We’ve received tentative notice,” he said “But anyone with financial need could get help.”
As for water service, residents should expect a 5 percent increase in that bill in the new year, he said.
Council and the mayor awarded a bid for trash collection for 2023 to Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill, LLC, after choosing between three different options offered by the company, which does business as County Hauling.
Mayor R. Scott Adams said that the city would have garbage picked up three days a week, and recycling would remain bi-weekly as it is now. “So, there’s no difference there.” He did believe that Plan B would “help alleviate missed pickups.”
Mayor Adams noted that he had had meetings with the police union to negotiate a new contract.
Council also accepted the resignation of police Officer Marcus Brommell by a 4-0 vote. The department is looking for new officers, said Adams. A civil-service test is scheduled for Dec. 15 and anyone interested in taking the test can apply until Dec. 14.
Council authorized City Manager Douglas Sample to enter into an agreement with Civic Plus to provide website services to the city at a cost of $5,895 annually. Sample discussed that the upgrades, which won’t be operational until summer 2024, will provide better hosting and better tools for residents, including the ability to pay bills online.
City Treasurer Maureen Strahl said that tax collections are at the same levels they have been, with approximately 75 to 78 percent of current taxes are collected.
Council noted in the annual budget, some $16,000 to $20,000 usually carries over to the volunteer fire department, but there won’t be a carry over into 2024.
The city will discuss fundraising proposals with the fire deparment.
Council’s reorganization meeting is scheduled for Jan. 2. Denise Brownfield is expected to be appointed to replace outgoing Councilman Tim Caldwell, who has not attended a meeting in person for more than a year.
Tom Leturgey is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh and the editor of KSWA Digest, the online news and features home of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. His work also appears in The Valley Mirror and other publications.
Originally published December 06, 2023.