Updated: Township Council Introduces $59.5 Million Budget, Tax Rate Remains Flat

2-23-16 Meeting - 14

The Township Council Feb. 23 introduced its 2016 budget.


April 12:

The council unanimously approved the amendment and the 2016 budget.

March 22:

Three revisions in the proposed budget forced the public hearing to be re-scheduled to the Council’s April 12 meeting. The changes reduce the overall budget by $50,000, to $59,488,016.

In his budget address, Mayor Phil Kramer said the tax impact on the owner of a property assessed at the township average of $314,275 is an increase of $18.38.

Original Story: A $59.5 million 2016 budget that asks for more in taxes, but does not trigger a tax rate increase was introduced Feb. 23 by the Township Council.

The $59,533,016 budget is powered by a $34,961,693 municipal purposes tax levy, which is an increase of $595,600 in the amount to be raised by taxes over the 2015 budget, township manager Robert Vornlocker told the council.

But, because the township’s assessed valuation increased $195,977,532 from last year, to $9,254,471,248, the township’s tax rate will not increase, he said.

That effort was also helped by the use of $1.5 million in surplus and using $375,782 from the Open Space Trust Fund to help pay the salaries and benefits for 11 Department of Public Works employees for work they do in township parks.

The budget, Vornlocker said in his message to the council, “continues to demonstrate the township’s prioritization of improved efficiency and effectiveness, careful spending, and also working towards providing increased services, responsiveness and convenience for our constituents.”

Deputy Mayor Ted Chase, (D- Ward 1), an opponent of using the open space money to pay for salaries and benefits, tried to have the allocation removed, but was not successful.

Chase said he believed that when the township instituted an open space tax, residents did not expect it to pay for things such as salaries.

“We need the money in the Open Space Trust Fund to pay for further acquisition of open space, construction of facilities and maintenance of parks,” he said. “I think we can afford to pay these employees from the municipal funds.”

Vornlocker said the open space money would be used to pay for about half of the total cost of DPW workers.

The only council member to support Chase was Shanel Robinson (D-At Large), who wondered where the council would draw the line at using  open space money.

“I think we need to come up with some creative ways to meet our expenses,” she said.

Mayor Phillip Kramer noted the the amount requested in the open space trust fund is 8 percent of the yearly open space budget.

“That’s not a small amount, but certainly not a large amount,” he said.

Kramer said that the council may in the future have to discuss raising municipal taxes to pay for park upkeep.

A second reading and public hearing on the spending plan is scheduled for the Council’s March 22 meeting.


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