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County College Tax Drew Payers’ Anger Friday

A copy of the county commissioners’ letter (above) regarding the new tax for the college, and the millage rates (inset) that appeared on Lower Pottsgrove Township tax bills

Resentment Over The County College Tax

Pity Lower Pottsgrove Tax Collector Jennifer Marsteller. She bore the wrath and complaints Friday (March 31, 2017) of disgruntled tax check writers for a problem not of her making.

Oh, Marsteller’s accustomed to hearing people argue taxes are too high. As the person elected to annually scoop up property owners’ cash to pay the costs of running the township, its fire companies, and Montgomery County, withstanding gripes goes with her territory.

But the “something different” in the grousing that came her way as the month ended, inside her East High Street office in Sanatoga, was due to a county Board of Commissioners‘ decision this year to add a new and separate tax for operations at Montgomery County Community College.

In a Jan. 31 letter that accompanied spring tax bills, county commissioners explained the new tax of 0.39 mills (amounting to $39 on a home valued at $100,000) “creates a dedicated revenue stream to support the work of the college.” Commissioners claimed it represents “an excellent investment,” because research shows support for community colleges generates “a 7.2-percent rate of return.” They didn’t specify how, or to whom or what.

One elderly man slowly shook his head from side to side as he departed Marsteller’s office Friday at about 6:20 p.m., obviously unhappy. “It’s not a good day,” he said. The new county college tax was onerous, the man claimed: he didn’t have children who attended the college; and unlike the Pottsgrove School District the college really didn’t serve a significant number of his neighbors, either.

Instead, he said, he saw it simply as a way commissioners could use for other purposes money they previously budgeted for the college, while the new college tax burden could over time siphon off even more money.

Friday represented the last day township residents could claim a 2-percent discount on their taxes by paying early. Marsteller purposely held later-than-usual office hours during the past three days to offer extra time and get them in under the wire. After the man left, she reported hearing similar complaints regarding the college tax each and every day.

“I understand what they’re feeling. I suggested they call the county,” Marsteller noted. Commissioners, in their letter, suggested the same. They gave the county Finance Department phone number as 610-278-3436, and advised those with “any questions” about the college tax call it. Problem is, Marsteller added, “people told me no one there was answering the phone.”

Friday Was Hoops Day At Pottsgrove MS

County College Tax Drew Payers' Anger Friday

(Photo from Pottsgrove Middle School via Twitter @PGMSNews)

Pottsgrove Middle School held its own version of “March Madness” on Friday (above), with what it said on Twitter was a first annual basketball tournament to celebrate second marking-period achievements under the “School-wide Positive Behavior Support” program. The program intends to improve student attitudes and prevent behavioral problems. The tournament is a reward for participants that, according to the school, resulted in “lots of fun and sportsmanship.”

Getting All STEAMed Up In Pottstown

Pottstown High School’s second STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Family Night is scheduled to be held April 20 (2017; Thursday) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the school building, 750 N. Washington St. It’s free to attend and open to the public. Watch it (above), or see it at the Pottstown School District’s YouTube channel, here.

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Around Town (for the week of March 27-April 2, 2017):

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