Township Council Introduces $63 Million Budget For 2020

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker presented the Council with a $63 million proposed budget.

A $63 million spending plan was introduced March 10 by the Township Council.

The $62,827,195.19 2020 budget – up $895,857 over the 2019 budget of $61,931,338 – is powered by a tax levy of $25,751,390.71. That’s an increase of $614,888.79 over the 2019 levy.

Although the budget and tax levy have increased, so has the total assessed valuation in the township, which helped lower the tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation 1.9 percent, from 2019’s .35 cents per to .34 cents per $100 of valuation.

That translates to a municipal portion tax bill of $1,164 for the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $344,430, a $4.17 increase over the 2019 tax bill.

The township’s assessed valuation increased $380,511,746 over the past year, from $10,198,322,683 to $10,578,834,429.

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker, who prepared the budget, told the Council that, in an effort to hold the line on the tax increase, an additional $286,760 was used from the $7.6 million anticipated surplus.

Vornlocker said among the things pressuring the budget upward was a $350,000 increase in the township’s debt service, a $250,000 in the reserve for tax appeals and an $800,000 increase in salaries and wages due to new contracts.

There was also a $550,000 decrease in employee and retiree health insurance costs, an $86,000 decrease in departmental operational costs and a $716,000 decrease in the utilities budget over the past seven years, Vornlocker said.

“The CY 2020 budget 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,” Vornlocker said in his budget statement.

“Franklin Township has many positive things in development,” including a new youth center, more economic development, road, sidewalk and infrastructure repairs and improvements to township parks, Vornlocker said.

“However, these costs and the continued efficient operation of township services require a careful balancing act between providing maximum quality services to the community, community capital and repair costs and maintaining taxes at a reasonable level,” he said.

There was a mild skirmish among Council members when Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5) attempted to get $250,000 added to the $500,000 capital improvement plan for road repairs in his and Councilman Carl Wright’s (D-Ward 5) wards.

Vornlocker objected to the addition, saying doing so would delay the budget’s introduction, and the Council could add more to the capital plan during the year if it so wished.

After a sometimes heated discussion, Vassanella changed his request to $100,000 more, to which his fellow Council members agreed.

The public will have its chance to weigh in on the proposed budget at the Council’s April 14 meeting.

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