SANATOGA PA – An additional $6,000, intended to cover higher-than-anticipated raises for rank-and-file officers in the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department, became part of the township’s 2014 annual budget Thursday night (Dec. 19, 2013). The amended spending plan passed by a 3-2 vote with opposition from board members Bruce Foltz and Stephen Klotz, who earlier indicated they were unhappy with some of its allocations.
The extra money reflects an arbitrator’s Nov. 25 (2013) award of a salary increase of 4 percent to police officers and others covered by their collective bargaining agreement, Manager Ed Wagner said. The budget, which won tentative approval Nov. 21 by the same 3-2 margin, accounts for only a 3-percent raise next year.
The department’s force has operated without a contract for about a year. An impasse in financial aspects of the talks prompted both sides to agree to arbitration to settle matters. Township officials and police representatives who were asked by The Post in recent months to discuss the state of police contract negotiations declined to do so; it is known the talks were the subject of several commissioners’ executive sessions.
The $5.6 million budget itself carries no increase in township property taxes for general operations. However, a property tax to support Lower Pottsgrove’s volunteer fire companies will cost the average home owner about $10 more during 2014, and the cost of quarterly sewer authority fees also will increase by about $24 annually.
Commissioners also Thursday approved an annual assessment for street lighting, which affects only property owners who benefit from lights in their area; and the Act 511 or so-called “nuisance” taxes and fees on earned income, real estate transfers, residency, and local services. They, too, are unchanged from 2013.
Related to the Lower Pottsgrove 2014 budget: