SANATOGA PA – The year-end close-out meeting of the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners, at which board members are expected to approve a $5.38 million township general budget for 2013, will be held tonight (Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012) beginning at 7 in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd. The meeting is open to the public.
Property taxes would not increase under the 2013 budget, a tentative copy of the document indicates. Next year’s real estate tax rate remains at 2.208 mills, or about $2.21 per $1000 of assessed property value. To avoid a tax hike, however, the budget relies on an infusion of $424,907 from township savings, known as its unreserved fund balance.
By comparison, under the 2012 budget of $5.51 million, real property taxes rose about $31 (12 percent), and required $537,392 from savings to ensure it balanced. Last year’s tax hike was somewhat mitigated by a savings for most property owners on trash hauling fees, thanks to a renegotiated garbage disposal contract. The $125 trash fee remains unchanged for 2013.
The taxpayer cost of fire protection services would rise by 11.5 percent, however. The annual amount Lower Pottsgrove assesses property owners to boost the capital reserve funds of the Sanatoga and Ringing Hills fire companies for future equipment purchases will increase to .58 mills, and hike the revenue to be split by the companies from $308,000 during 2012 to $343,420 next year.
The 2013 combined real estate and fire tax rate amounts to 2.788 mills, which results in a township tax bill of about $349 annually on a property with an assessed value of $125,000.
Although the township has not yet finalized a new contract with members of its uniformed police force, the budget includes a 2-percent salary increase for both them and non-uniformed staff. For the first time, however, the budget also requires employees to pay 5 percent of their health insurance costs. Several employees have privately claimed their net salaries may actually decline next year as a result.
Commissioners are looking ahead, too, to what they anticipate will be substantial capital costs to be endured in coming years. The 2013 budget includes an $80,000 set-aside to buy a new emergency electrical generator for the municipal building, of which half was budgeted but not spent during 2012. The board said its future plans for capital costs, although not reflected in next year’s budget, include repairs of the Pruss Hill Road and Rupert Road bridges.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Dec. 20 meeting):
Editor’s note: This story was re-edited Thursday at 11:26 a.m. to correct spelling, add links, and improve clarity.
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