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Board Proclaims No Tax Increase Intent

SANATOGA PA – A balanced budget in Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township for 2009. No township tax increase.

Members of the township Board of Commissioners practically promised that combination to the public Monday night (Nov. 10, 2008), before entering an executive session to discuss personnel matters relating to next year’s spending plan.

It was expected the board would end its executive session later Monday, reconvene an officially public meeting, pass a resolution for tentative approval of the budget, and agree to advertise the document as available for public review beginning Nov. 24. As of The Post’s publication this morning (Nov. 11, 2008, at 5:30 a.m.) it could not be determined if those events had occurred.

No budget paperwork was offered to the public during the first of the board’s two monthly meetings at the township administration building on Buchert Road. Consequently, the exact amount of money Lower Pottsgrove expects to spend during 2009 to provide services to its residents, or how it will raise revenue to pay for those services, was not been publicly revealed. The current year’s budget totals about $9 million.

There were plenty of optimistic hints from commissioners on what next year’s budget may look like, though.

“We’re not intending to pass any tax increase” for 2009, board President Bruce Foltz announced before the executive session. By the time board members finished, he added, “we may even cut more” costs.

“It’s the budget committee’s consensus that we come in with a balanced budget and no tax increase,” agreed board Vice President Jonathan Spadt.

“I think we’re headed that way,” township Manager Rodney Hawthorne concurred.

Again in 2009, however, the township may draw on cash reserves to make its numbers work. Commissioner Anthony Doyle alluded to the board’s intent to take as much as $250,000 from reserve funds to balance income with expenses. Reserves represent money the township has saved from earlier-collected revenues, including taxes. Reserves helped balance the 2008 budget as well.

“We’re trying to keep things as tight as we can,” Doyle said of township spending, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult, he said. “Last year’s budget was complicated. This year’s budget is even more complicated than last year.”

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