There was an oasis of calm in an otherwise stormy Coaldale Borough Council meeting Tuesday as officials approved a proposed 2013 budget that would keep the property tax the same as this year.
With Councilman Steve Tentylo absent, council voted all-in-favor of the $1.7 million balanced budget.
If adopted as is, the spending plan would keep the tax rate at 25.04 mills. That means the owner of a home assessed for taxes at $25,000 would continue to pay $626 next year.
The budget reflects some changes: The total police department expenditure is estimated to be $261,600 next year, down $30,870, or 10.5 percent, from this year.
The treasurer's salary would drop by 16.8 percent, from $14,740 this year to $12,250 next year.
Council has budgeted 17.3 percent less for road repair, from $23,100 this year to $19,100 next year.
Council members, with the exception of Joseph Hnat, have agreed to forfeit their $75 a month stipends, as did the mayor.
But not every line has decreased.
Legal fees are expected to increase by 37.5 percent, from $8,000 this year to $11,000 next year. Council has also budgeted $45,000 for lawsuits/arbitration in anticipation of legal actions stemming from its layoffs this year of its full-time police officers.
Unemployment compensation is expected to be up from $5,000 this year to $60,000 next year. Highway maintenance is expected to increase by about 8 percent, from $145,850 to $157,550. Council also increased its budget for repairs to tools and machinery by 42.8 percent, from $7,000 to $10,000.
In February, council adopted a budget of $1.68 million for 2012 that called for a 2.4 mill tax increase and cut five full-time employees, including three police officers, and having council and the mayor forego their monthly stipends. The 11.09 percent tax increase brought the total levy to 25.04 mills.
The proposed 2013 budget is available at the borough offices at 221 3rd St.