Faced with a budget deficit and potential property tax increase, the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors on Monday scrutinized revenues and expenditures in their proposed 2013 spending plan.
The supervisors voted 3-2 to pass a preliminary, $4.7 million budget that includes a 2-mill tax increase.
A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 assessed property value. Each mill generates about $129,000 in revenue for the township, which has an overall tax rate of 4.4 mills currently.
“This is the first (potential tax increase) in nine years,” Township Manager Mike Christopher said Monday.
With a 2-mill tax increase in 2013, Christopher said he is optimistic the municipality can avoid a tax hike for the next several years.
A 2-mill increase will mean about a $40 increase for the average tax parcel, he said.
Contributing to the potential deficit of $130,000 were the township’s transfer station and recycling center. The pair are moneymakers for the municipality, but are bringing in $62,500 a year less than they used to, officials said.
Costs associated with health insurance, workers’ compensation and other insurance programs also are on the rise, Christopher said.
Supervisors Jeff Geesaman, Dick McCracken and William Conrad voted in favor of the preliminary budget and 2-mill tax increase as presented. Supervisors Stephen Kulla and Elaine Gladhill voted against it, with Gladhill saying she thought there should be a 1-mill increase and further cuts made.
“You’ve got to be careful when cutting these,” Conrad said, saying there isn’t money designated for capital reserve. “If you do, (we’ve) got nothing to fall back on.”
Prior to the recession, about 100 new houses were being built a year in the township and generating $500,000 annually, Christopher said. The 10 new houses this year have brought in $56,000, he said.
The supervisors are scheduled to pass a final budget Monday, Dec. 17.
Editor's note: This story was edited Nov. 21, 2012, to correct the date the supervisors are scheduled to pass a final budget.