2018 Will Be 10th Straight Year Without Tax Increase

2018 Will Be 10th Straight Year Without Tax Increase
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, November 23, 2017
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY – The last municipal tax increase in Delaware Township was in 2008.  There won’t be another one for 2018, either.

Township taxes that will stay the same were finalized when township officials completed the 2018 budget during a Board of Supervisors public workshop before last week’s meeting.  The budget is available for residents to examine online or they can pick up a hard copy at the municipal building.

However, taxes will not be decreased as they were in three of the previous six years:  the 2012, 2013 and 2016 fiscal years.

The budget must be on display for 20 days and will get a vote for approval at the next meeting on Dec. 13.  If it needs further revision, the budget will be presented again at the following meeting on December 20.  That meeting was moved a week earlier from Dec. 27 because of the Christmas holidays.

Total income and spending for the township balances at $4,484,007.

The General Fund is projected as $1,196,025 versus anticipated expenditures of $1,169,194.  The surplus goes into the Capital Reserve Fund for the following year.

The total millage rate remains at 11.68, which is comprised of an 8.68 township millage, a 1.5 millage rate for the township volunteer fire department and 1.5 mills for the township parks and recreation fund.

The Parks and Recreation Fund is projected at a $148,500 income and $144,510 in expenses for 2018.

Fire department and related expenses come out to $88,936.

The Liquid Fuels Tax revenue for the township for roads and bridges is $211,890.

“We’ll have to look at other sources as well for our roads.  That only pays for one major road in the township,” said Supervisor and board Treasurer Jane Neufeld, who work with township Administrator Krista Predmore on the budget.

Neufeld said she was pleased with the transparency of this year’s budget in showing how township money is spent by listing more categories an specific breakdowns.

“This puts us in place to find better and more efficient ways to have better government and to keep it in good financial shape,” said Neufeld.

Two changes were made to the budget during the workshop after lengthy discussions.

The township donation to its Volunteer Ambulance Corps was set at $55,570.  It was increased by $50,000 for 2018 to avoid enacting a millage tax on residents that had been discussed at prior meetings.  It will be in effect for only one year, pending further review.  The corps, which provides Advanced Life Support services for 40 hours a week during peak call times and Basic Life Support services, has needed costly engine repairs for both ambulances.

The budget also reduced the amount of money in the Health and Human Services category from $12,000 to $8,000 after lengthy discussion.

It includes animal control services and human services, including donations to agencies, individuals and nonprofits whose work affects a segment of township residents.

Resident Steve McBride opened discussion on the category, saying that $12,000 seemed too high.  “If it is a smaller amount, there is an automatic limitation,” he said.  Rick Koehler, elected township supervisor for the term beginning Jan.1, said that “the more money is available, the more people will make requests.”

Neufeld said that the donation policy, adopted earlier in the fall with stricter, more detailed guidelines on how taxpayer money is awarded to requests for funding, would help monitor spending.  She moved later to reduce the budget limit as all three supervisors agreed on it.

Under the General Fund, real estate tax revenue expects to total $950,250 and transfer taxes to total $85,000.

General Services and Administration costs, which includes wages and energy costs projects at $266,449.  Employer paid benefits ($504,144), insurance ($61,965) and medical insurance ($97,520) also drove up expenditures.

Also at the meeting, Koehler has resolved his situation on his being elected both supervisor and township auditor at the Nov. 7 General Election.

The board accepted Koehler’s resignation to serve a full term as township auditor so he could be seated as supervisor in the reorganization meeting, which the board approved for 7 p.m. on Jan. 2. The auditor position will be filled by appointment by the board and is being advertised for the board to accept letters to be submitted from candidates.

Koehler is finishing an interim appointment as auditor to the end of the year and had run for the full-term position again starting in January.

When a supervisor position opened with the retirement of Jeff Scheetz from the board in June, Koehler ran for that position as well, but it was too late for him to withdraw as an unopposed candidate for auditor.

The board also agreed to advertise for a Sewerage Enforcement Officer for appointment in 2018.  Koehler offered, based on his experience with Westfall Township, but was advised by the board that a supervisor should not serve that secondary role.