About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Beitler Explains Lower Mac's Low Taxes

In an informative post, Lower Macungie Commissioner explains how real estate taxes work in Lower Macungie. Basically, if your home is assessed at or below $111,300, you pay nothing. By his estimation, this means that about 1,000 households are tax free. The millage rate for homes that are valued higher is just 0.50, which is the fifth lowest municipal millage rate.

Although this is a remarkable achievement, my criticism (Yes, I complain about everything!) is that taxpayers throughout the rest of the state, including Allentown, are subsidizing the Township's police coverage. The Township depends on Pennsylvania State Police. But Ron has an answer for that, too, based on a 2013 police study. "The 'bottom line' is largely unchanged from previous police services studies. Lower Macungie Township has a low crime rate and a relatively low demand for police service, in spite of significant population growth and proximity to Pennsylvania’s third largest city."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Other taxpayers should not be paying for the police services Lower Macungie is receiving from PSP. PSP only responds to the most seriousness of calls. You can not accurately judge crime until you have a police depe that responds to all calls. It's as simple as the sound of a tree falling in the woods. No one hears it because no one is there.

Anonymous said...

Relatively speaking, Lower Macungie's crime rate is no different than any other suburban municipality in the Lehigh Valley with local police. Add all the shopping centers that are springing up in Lower Macungie and their crime rate will go up. State Police are pretty busy in Lower Macungie. Using the Lower Macungie model, all suburban municipalities should just get rid of their police and save their local communities millions of dollars in taxes and simply dump it on the state taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

you have to numbers to substantiate that claim?

Anonymous said...

The township still should pay for a police force. If the township waived all police protection, this guy could talk.

Anonymous said...

In Pennsylvania, I believe this to be true, "there are more municipalities without Police Protection than there are with police protection". This means that Macungie isn't alone by a far cry. Once you get into the real Burbs, State Police are the norm. Most of these smaller municipalities cannot afford a police force for other than speed control and motor vehicle violations. Then they are usually set up as fining mills to enhance the local coffers. The legislature won't do anything about it because the smaller communities are represented by the bulk of the legislators. Soooooooooooo..........suck it up cupcake. Stop complaining and get on with the rest of your life.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Macungie has had a police department for years, I live in Lynn township, and the state police are seen on the roads and do investigate crime, but it is very low, a police department is very expensive and in many cases unnecessary. In many small communities with police departments, they are forced to look for reasons to fine residents and run speed traps and rolling stop citations to help pay for their salaries. I believe when the citizens are out protesting that they need a police department, then it is time to consider it, until then just let it alone.

Anonymous said...

With urban growth, crime grows! As the fat cats sit back and enjoy their super low taxing rate, the plunderers from Allentown and surrounding communities are eyeing up this crown jewel. Since PSP doesn't release crime specifics, it is unknown how or where the crime rate is. But I can assure you, it is only a matter of time when these dudes, [including Beitler], will be crying for a local constabulary that can fight crime up front and that they can control.

Ron Beitler said...

From the 2013 police services study:
"LMT has a low crime rate. The 2012 estimated Part 1 crime rate of 1083.8 per 100,000 residents is about 1/3 the rate for Lehigh County and is 7th lowest among Pennsylvania’s 35 largest townships." Some more highlights of the study - http://www.ronbeitler.com/2013/11/09/police-services-study-preliminary-report/

3 realities right now:
1. Low crime rate
2. Excellent job that the Pennsylvania state police is doing for us. And the fact they want to be in LMT doing it. Starting in 2013 during yearly report "We want to be here" "We are your local PD".
3. Diminished prospects of HR 1228 or similar imposing policing fees and becoming law anytime soon.
4. 2009 and 2010 resident surveys/polls indicating a low interest (at the time) in expanding upon our current level of police protection. This has been consistent over the years.

All this means and adds up to having the right arrangement for township residents right now.

However, and this is the big however. I personally think the catalyst is coming down the road. That is the warehouses approved by the 2010 board in the Jaindl rezoning... The freight traffic generated by them on our section of Rt. 100 will eventually strain the allocated PSP and force us to look again at the way we provide police services in Lower Mac. Large commercial shopping centers will also play a part. That being said when the time comes one thing will not change. That is that this will be a data driven decision and not an emotional decision. A 4.5 million dollar question.

Anonymous said...

It takes a lot of balls to brag about a low tax rate, but i guess since they did not even have a property tax a few years ago, they have to spin a positive out of it some how.

It is easy to have a low tax rate in a Township, especially when they have no police. Government in a township is not hard to run when they have a ton of EIT coming in.

The crime rate in Lower Mac will go up once Costco and the other stores open. Ask Hanover Township Lehigh County about crime rates. The crime rate tripled when the Airport Center opened. Plus the nuisance stuff increased, like litter and pan handling, etc.

But don't worry, my tax dollars will continue to pay for Lower Mac's police.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ on the police protection issue. Refer to the volume of calls made by PSP as reported by WFMZ. Also, until recently, LMT has recently imposed traffic impact fees, however, expect the state to fix their traffic woes from the bad devisions of the past. Let's face it folks, LMT ges $5M a year in a virtual grant by free protection by PSP and the Commander wants to expand inot schools. That is BS. Time to hire scool resoirce ofixer and carry your own watwr.. Their revenue is based on one time cash infusion by development. At some point that development tapers, roads need to be replaced and expenses will rise.

Anonymous said...

Before the election, I would be very interested in knowing what candidates support HR 1228. When we are pulling substation amounts of money from transportation Bill (largest tax increase in recent PA history) and now there are suggestions of robbing the gaming fund, it is time to impose fees on municipalities that mooch services and have he means to pay. Provisions should be made for depressed area (villages) with little means to pay. Any token contribution by these communities would satisfy me. How can we possibly be giving free services when other programs are being cut?

Anonymous said...

I always thought the P.S.P. was founded to provide police services to rural areas. Mr.Beitler is very wise to utilize these sevices

Anonymous said...

Define rural? Claiming you are Lehigh Valleys third largest municipalitywith 30k residents,bursting at the seems with development, buikding muktimilkion dallar parks with County and stste grants, have traffic problems and need to pass trucking ordinances IS NOT what I consider rural.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that the PSP like the Lower Macungie mission and that they want to do it.

However, it isn't their job to make resource decisions on the part of the state--so whether they like the mission or not really isn't relevant.

That said, I think the coverage that LMT gets from the state or from a notional "regional" police department would likely be comparable.

Michael Siegel said...

The real issue is trucks. If the township contracts out with Alburtis and Macungie for regional enforcing of trucks laws and zoning ordinances such as brake retarders and littering, our community will have a adequate police force. Plus we can help our neighborhood boroughs police force be subsidized by the taxpayers of LMT keeping every ones taxes down in the EPSD

Anonymous said...

Here is an enlightening read

http://m.wfmz.com/lehigh-valley-regional-news/who-says-lower-macungie-doesnt-have-its-own-police-department/31647912

Bernie O'Hare said...

Good story. Written by Randy Kraft.

Anonymous said...

I pay school tax, I don't have kids, I pay state tax, I don't have state police patrolling my neighborhood, I pay federal tax, politicians draft rediculous bills that fund programs for illegals. Que sera....

Anonymous said...

I bet Lower Macungie's crime rate would be much higher if they had there own Police Department. Being very familiar with the area and law enforcement in the area I know many residents don't bother to call the police unless it is a serious problem. The response times, no fault of PSP due to the coverage area for the Fogelsville Barracks, and PSP not handling all the types of incidents that a local Police Dept. would surely accounts for lower crime rates since many crimes are not reported. I know as far back as 25 or more years ago many residents were asking the neighboring police departments if they could respond to Lower Macungie Twp.

George Ruth said...

I love the comments above salivating at the prospect of the new shopping center adding crime to Lower Mac. Actually if we didn't have so many shoppers (or should I say 'shoplifters') from Allentown coming to our Walmart there would be even lower crime rates. I think these centers should simply have beefed up security to pay for the prosecution of their own criminals.
Also, don't these townships pay a fee to the State Police to offset the services?

Anonymous said...

should have hyperlinked this.

Anonymous said...

No.

Anonymous said...

At 50.5 cents per gallon PA's gasoline tax is REPORTEDLY the highest in the nation.

The lesser known statistic is that something near 20% or $1 billion of the total revenue collected for the state gas tax goes to support the PSP budget.

This is one component of many as to why PA's bridges and roads are in such ill-repair.

While the PSP may take pride in serving municipalities without a local police force, they should be invoicing local municipalities for their service, NOT on the backs of the consumers of gas in the Commonwealth. The money collected from gas tax should go to fix PA's bridges and highways.

Local politicians take great pride in boasting about "holding the line" on taxes but their ability to do so is increasingly on the backs of OPM in the form of revenue sources outside their local municipality, the state, and the federal government.

Such reliance is unwise because neither the state nor the feds have proven any ability of keeping within their means, and when they eventually go belly-up, locals will find an accumulated burden they cannot pay for because they haven't been paying for so long.



Anonymous said...

I just wonder if, the crime in Lower Macungie Township is under reported.

Chris Casey said...

I am doing some research on just how many calls the upper Mac police respond to in lower Mac. I am wondering the same about South Whitehall. It appears the state police are not the only ones in lower Mac. If neighboring departments are responding three times a day, that is a thousand free cop interactions a year.

Chris Casey said...

I don't believe that upper Mac bills lower Mac for police response, but I hope to find out what the arrangements might be

Ron Beitler said...

Shopping centers: On the last two shopping centers approved with conditional use hearings we added requirements to provide outdoor security services on the grounds that are “adequate to protect the safety of people and property.” Those services must continue as long as the shopping center exists. If the township determines security is not adequate at any time in the future, "the operators will be required to make improvements." We are trying to be proactive through the land development process to put responsibility (as much as we can) on the operators to use preventative strategies as opposed to police. Wal Mart has no such conditions and as such has always been a big strain on the PSP. This is in line with most wal marts and local PD's.

Gas Tax: In PA we are taxed 50 cents per gallon of gas. Highest in the nation. And yes, @Anon 8:21 you are correct about the problem with siphoning some of that money off to pay for PSP. It's a problem. I have issues with the gas tax increase in general This is one of the many problems. With LMT and our utilization of the PSP I know we are taking advantage of the rules. But it is within the framework setup by Harrisburg. Folks with concerns need to take them to their state reps. Change the rules. My position at this point which is a data driven one is easy. Harrisburg let's us do what we do. Therefore, we'd be fools not to take advantage for as long as we can and for as long as our crime rates (a measurable metric) remain low.

@anon 8:30 - Yup, the development ponzi scheme. Yes, Lower Mac has been the beneficiary of years of hyper growth. And we've enjoyed benefits from revenues associated with that growth. But at the same time we assumed and continue to assume long-term liabilities for maintaining new infrastructure and providing increased services. This exchange has been in the past a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation.

Today, by acknowledging this problem we can continue to proactive about a long term resiliency strategy. I am a true believer in the strong towns message of long term financial resiliency. http://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme/
To address this we've been trying to get more strategic about our growth. That is, seeking higher value development + preservation farmland to prevent some of the lower value development we've seen. We a healthier more balanced highest productivity tax base.

@Chris Casey I'd be interested what you find out. We looked into this with Macungie Borough a year ago after they raised some issues. And we continue to be sensitive to any strain we could put on neighboring PD's.

Anonymous said...

"Diminished prospects of HR 1228 or similar imposing policing fees and becoming law anytime soon."

AND why is that the case? Is the purse of the PA taxpayer being used to support political agendas? This seems like a no Brainer if there are provisions for the smallest and poorest communities.

Anonymous said...

I would pay for the moving permit for Commissioner Beitler to move to my Township. He has a sustainable vision that I support.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, WAEB News on Friday was reporting that the State Police would now be attending the Lower Macungie Commissioner Meetings for security, due to a recent change in circumstances. Are you aware of the reason for this?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No clue.