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Township Plans $31 Average Tax Hike In 2018

SANATOGA PA – Property taxes paid by the average home owner in Lower Pottsgrove would rise $31.25 under a tentative $6.32 million general fund budget for 2018, approved Thursday (Nov. 9, 2017) by the township Board of Commissioners. Unless revised next month, when the board is scheduled to approve a final budget, the hike increases this year’s average payment of about $338 to about $369 in 2018.

The average is based on a township property valued at $125,000. Township tax rates in 2017 were unchanged from 2016. Township taxes do not include the additional, and substantially higher, taxes imposed by the separately governed Pottsgrove School District.

The proposed tax rate increase of .25-mills is attributable solely to the board’s desire to create a capital reserve fund, according to Manager Ed Wagner. It would accumulate $149,000 in its first year, but the money is not earmarked for any specific purpose, Wagner claimed. Instead, he said, it represents funds for future needs.

Commissioners in 2015 explored a proposed expansion of the 27-year-old municipal building on Buchert Road, which is now considered inadequate to house the township’s considerably larger police department. At the time, architect Donald Wirt estimated the cost of refurbishing and enlarging the space at about $4 million.

Commissioners also face the cost of replacing the failing Pruss Hill Road bridge, which bears increasingly heavier traffic from commuters headed to and from the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422. A proposed future realignment of Bleim Road with Pruss Hill is likely to require solving its bridge problems, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials have said.

Preliminary budget figures supplied at the meeting indicate the police department continues to be the township’s single greatest expense, estimated next year at $3.29 million, and representing an increase of more than $159,000 or about 5 percent over 2017. The plan also indicates a significantly lower cost next year for recreation expenses, down about $51,000 from $333,858 in 2017 to $282,408 next year.

In addition to unanimously voting for the tentative budget, commissioners also agreed to advertise its property and Act 511 tax rates, and street lighting assessment. Board Vice President Stephen Klotz was absent and did not vote. The budget is expected to be available for public inspection Monday (Nov. 13) at the municipal building during regular business hours, Wagner said.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Nov. 9 meeting):

Graphic from Google Images

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