|Photo by Evan Brandt|
Outgoing Upper Pottsgrove Township Commissioner Renee Spaide receives a proclamation and congratulations from Board of Commissioners chairman Elwood Taylor for her eight years of service on the board.
BLOGGER'S NOTE: This entry has been updated with the correct tax increase. The initial post excluded last year's fire tax, so the total millage for last year was higher to begin with than first calculated. Our thanks to Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor for pointing out the error.
With a 4-1 vote, the township board of commissioners Monday night raised the property tax rate by more than 14 percent for 2016.
The township's newest commissioners, France Krazalkovich, case the only vote against the budget -- which was not outlined in detail Monday but is probably in the neighborhood of $3 million.
According to the tax millage ordinance, which Krazalkovich also voted against, the millage rate went from 3.775 in 2015 to 4.3 mills for 2016.
It is the township's first property tax increase in six straight years.
The percentage increase is 13.90728476 to be exact.
The Christmas cookies put out for the public at
Monday night's meeting.
Part of that increase, .3 mills, is to be dedicated to indebtedness for capital projects, most notably a new public works garage, which Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor said is "sorely needed."
Another .6 mills is the fire protection tax and the 3.4 mills is the general purpose property tax.
Calling it a "nuisance tax," Krazalkovich and Commissioner Martin Schreiber also voted to eliminate the "per capita" tax, which raises about $12,000 a year, but Taylor, Herb Miller and Renee Spaide all voted against the motion.
Krazalkovich said he voted against the property tax increase because Montgomery County will be increasing taxes by more than 9 percent in 2016 and the school district may increase taxes by 3 percent or more.
However, he disputed the claims by an unhappy taxpayer in the audience who said Upper Pottsgrove's taxes were the "highest in the county."
In fact, he noted, Upper Pottsgrove's tax rate is the 21st highest of the county's 34 townships.
It is the Pottsgrove School District's tax rate, Taylor and Krazalkovich both said, that makes the tax bill so high for residents. Krazalkovich said the millage for Pottsgrove School District is the third highest in the county.
The commissioners should keep those other factors in mind when they consider raising the township taxes replied the resident, who did not identify herself.
The budget will use $57,000 from the general fund, in addition to the township's portion of the state's liquid fuels tax revenues, to repair and repave portions of North Hanover Street nearest to Mauger's Mill Road; as well as Needhammer Road, said Public Works Chief Frank Quinter.
Michelle Reddick complained that the township took money from Summer Grove developers Rouse-Chamberlin to widen Pine Ford Road, but it has not been done in six years.
"Now you're raising taxes to work on the roads and it's still not being done," she said.
Township Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. said when the second half of Rouse-Chamberlin's plan -- for a restricted-age facility -- fell victim to the housing crash, the developers agreed widening the road was not necessary..
Last night's meeting was also Renee Spaide's last. She did not seek reelection for a third term.
Here is some video of a proclamation made in honor of her eight years of service: