Dec. 19 --For the first time in more than 20 years, Connellsville property owners will experience a tax increase in 2014. Property taxes in the city for 2014 will increase from 6.66 mills to 7.5 mills. The millage rate is the rate of property tax per $1,000 of assessed value on a home. Homeowners must pay $7.50 for every $1,000 in the assessed value of their homes in 2014. The average home in the city will see a $20 to $40 increase. The $2.96 million 2014 budget was passed with only outgoing Mayor Charles Matthews abstaining. As part of the budget, council also voted to apply for a $675,000 tax anticipation loan for 2014. The city also took out a tax anticipation loan for $675,000 in 2013. For the past few years, the city has taken out a tax anticipation loan to cover costs between January and March, when tax money is scheduled to come into the city. Historically, those loans were paid off when the tax money arrived and the remainder of those revenues would carry the city for the rest of the year. Last year, however, the city found itself unable to make payment on the principal of $450,000 . That forced council to take out a tax anticipation loan of $675,000 and used $450,000 from that total to pay off the 2013 tax anticipation loan. Councilman Brad Geyer , who heads the finance committee, said the city will begin filing paperwork with the Department of Economic and Community Development to apply for a term loan to avoid getting the tax anticipation note in the future. Wednesday's meeting marked the last one for Matthews, who lost his re-election bid in the primary election, and Councilwoman Marilyn Weaver , who decided not to seek a second term. "It has been a true pleasure working with this council," Weaver said, adding that people become involved in public service to make their hometowns a better home for everyone. "To the next administration, I wish you much success." "I like to thank the residents of Connellsville for letting me serve them for the last 10 years," Matthews said, adding that the council has made inroads and has laid much groundwork for the future including renovations of the Aaron's building and the upcoming groundbreaking of a hotel in the city. The mayor said he always saw himself as a public servant rather than a politician and that's what he saw on the council on which he served as mayor and wanted the next administration to know they'll be working with years of experience. "This is the best council I ever worked with," Matthews said. Other council members as well as police Chief James Capitos expressed their pleasure in working with Matthews and Weaver, for their leadership to their volunteer efforts in the city. In other business, council: --Opened bids and approved the following parcel sales: $100 from Lenny Johnson for a property along Run Avenue , $100 from Geno Gallo for a property at Rear North Sixth Street and $250 from Hubert Coleman and Robert Renze for a property along South Arch Street . --Plans to advertise for bids for parcels at 140 S. Pittsburgh St. and Run Avenue . --Announced that the street department will receive a $97,552 recycling grant through the efforts of Vern Ohler and Toni Tesauro , according to Councilman Tom Karpiak . --Announced that Downtown Connellsville will hold three Lunch and Learn events in 2014 with the first scheduled at noon Jan. 21 , according to Lucy King of the organization. The group also will start one of three pledge drives for 2014. For more information, visit www.downtownconnellsville.org . --Reminded residents that from 10 a.m. to noon Friday , the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce will sponsor caroling in the city, then from 2 to 4 p.m. there will be an open house at the chamber office at 100 S. Arch St. --Approved Penn State student Jenna Finella of Scottdale for an internship with the police department for 250 hours, starting Jan. 13 . --Plans to hold a reorganization meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 6 in the city council chambers. Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media . He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org . ___ (c)2013 The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pa.) Visit The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pa.) at www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailycourier Distributed by MCT Information Services
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