Mandatory Library Tax Increase Fuels Local Tax Increase In Proposed Township Budget

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker delineated the proposed 2019 township budget at the March 26 Township Council meeting.

The township was able to hold the line on municipal taxes in its proposed 2019 budget, but a mandatory hike in the library tax means an overall increase in local property taxes for township residents this year.

The $61,931,338 proposed budget was introduced at the March 26 Township Council meeting. The total represents an uptick in the 2018 spending plan of $60,855,068.

The budget is powered by a total tax levy – municipal, library and Open Space – of $38,655,387, up $150,460 from the 2018 tax levy. That amounts to a total local portion tax rate of 42.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, a decrease from 2018’s rate of 44.2 cents per $100.

That translates to an annual local tax bill of $1,445.23 for the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $336,467, an $8.41 increase from 2018.

The tax rate’s reduction is a product of the township’s assessed valuations having increased again over the past year, from $9,807,191,247 in 2018 to $10,198,322,683, and the amount to be raised by taxes holding steady.

The minimum library tax increased from $3,368,425 in 2018 to $3,518,885 in 2019, a 4.5 percent jump. The township expects to receive $5,099,161 in open space taxes this year, an increase from 2018’s $4,903,596.

Looking at just the municipal portion of taxes to be raised under the proposed budget, without library or open space tax levies, the amount to be raised by taxes is $35,136,502. That comes to a tax rate of 34.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, a decrease from 2018’s 35.8 cents per $100.

Stripping out those tax levies for open space and the library, the municipal portion only of the local tax bill would be $1,159.24 for the owner of that same home assessed at the township average.

The township was able to keep a handle on the amount of taxes needed for the municipal portion through a number of factors, Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said in his annual budget memo:

  • a projection of $442,343 in increased revenues
  • a projection of $450,000 increase in the collection of delinquent taxes
  • no effective increase in salaries
  • no increase in the use of the surplus fund.

He said the municipal tax levy was kept steady even in the face of a $1,050,000 increase in the township’s group health insurance premium.

As it did in 2018, the township is using $7,271, 686 of its current fund surplus in the 2019 budget. That would leave a balance of $17,884,434.51, according to the budget document.

The proposed budget also includes $34,312,528 in capital improvement projects, with the biggest ticket item being the new $15 million youth center on Lewis Street. The township plans to pay for it using $750,000 from the capital improvement fund and financing the remaining $14,250,000.

Also included in teh capital budget is $6.4 million for parks and open space, $4.5 million for repairs and equipment for the water utility, $2.8 million for road resurfacing, $1.4 million for police vehicles and $1.1 million for public works equipment.

Vornlocker credited Mayor Phil Kramer with finding a $1 million mistake in the budget that he said would not have increased the tax rate, but would have forced the township to budget more than it needed to.

The proposed budget can be found here.

A public hearing and final vote on the budget is set for the Council’s April 23 meeting.


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