A taxpayer in a median market value home worth $177,618, can expect to see the same $521 tax bill he saw in 2014. It's his lowest tax bill, too. County taxes last year were $940, while school taxes were $4,428. The millage rate is 5.99 mills.
It does spends $1.6 million more than it takes in. This shortfall will be made up by taking money from the fund balance On paper, the fund balance is projected to drop $2 million over the next year and end at just $1.46 million. Funds on reserve will only be 10% of the budget. Freda stated that the reserve should be between 12-18%.
The Township's largest revenue source is Act 511 taxes, which consist of transfer taxes, earned income taxes and business mercantile taxes. These provide 31% of the Township's revenue. Real estate taxes, the second largest revenue source, brings in 27% of the Township's income.
The biggest drain on revenue is personnel. Ten years ago, the Township had 93 employees. Today, there are just 85 left, represented by three different unions.
Shit water cameras
Pat Breslin, who has missed three Board meetings this year, had a large audience of fellow tea party members in the audience. Not one of them attended a single budget hearing. Only two of them are regular attendees. But last night, they all suddenly became financial experts with all kinds of observations.
One of them, who was wearing goggles for underwater diving, is a shit expert, He questioned the cost of some camera system for viewing shit water, something I admit escaped my notice. Now I have no idea why municipalities buy cameras for watching shit water, but they do. This guy has a system himself, He might even have a few stills of some ploppers hanging on his wall. He told Manager Melissa Shafer that there are all kinds of shit shows where you can pick these cameras up real cheap. He goes to them all the time.
Shafer smiled, like she does at everyone, even me. But i don't think she'll be going to any shit show any time soon.
Michael Hudak was blowin' oil over $200,000 shitters slated for what they like to call the North 40. Normal people would call it the Bulldogs' playing fields. Bulldogs is the name of the Township's Athletic Association.
You see, even in Bethlehem Township, people do shit. And during football and softball games, they shit a lot, Moms, dads, grandfathers, grandmothers. Especially after ordering nachos. Hudak sneered at people who "feel embarrassed" to use a port-a-john, and argued the only reason this was included in the budget was politics.
"The Bulldogs are a large group of voters." he observed. But he's not about the politics, although he claimed to have spoken to a lot of people who feel like he does, so maybe he is about the politics and is just full of shit from not using the shitter enough. I don't know.
Hudak always ends his speeches with, "That is all I have to say."
Tom Nolan, who is up for election next year and supports the $200,000 shitters, was very offended at the suggestion that his vote was political.
He pointed out that the shitters are also being used for storage. I have no idea what will be stored there, and don't want to know.
From the floor, Martin Comer complained that the Bulldogs tell people who to vote for when they register their kids to play sports. Most bulldogs would call that bullshit.
One of the Bulldogs' coaches, Frank or Mike Grillo, pointed out that the sanitation at that area is "absolutely disgusting" and numerous children have been stung by bees while using the port-a-johns.
The 3% Raise
Though he's missed three meetings this year, Pat Breslin claims to have spent the last five weeks speaking to 400 people, and got a lot of "ill feedback." Maybe they're using the port-a-johns. Then Breslin started talking about the national debt, the Harrisburg bankrupticy and went on the claim that even his "dear friend" Hayden Phillips had to take a pay cut. So he's opposed to any raises at all for the 17 non-union workers in the Township.
Rather than arguing that his dear friend should get a raise, Breslin wants everyone else to suffer.
If the raises were removed, the Township would save about $38,000
Over the past seven years, the salaries of nonunion workers have gone up just 2.4%, states Manager Shafer. Roy Roth stated he has not had a raise since 1992.
Chetwin residents: What About Us?
Wayne Kresge, who has been at the spearhead of complaints about stormwaters at 15 homes along Chetwin Terrace, is incensed that the Township would build $200,000 shitters without addressing the storm water issue in his area.
He's been coming to meetings for the past 1 1/2 years, and Township employees cleaned out a swale, but he contends disaster is on the horizon.
$1.1 million for fire rescue trucks
Hudak also objected to $1.1 million to replace two fire rescue vehicles, each of which is over 20 years old. He claimed they aren't in "dire need" of replacement, though both have no state certification. "I speak from logic and facts," stated Hudak at one point. "That is all I have to say."
At least until firefighter Ron Ford said he was "disgusted" by Hudak's remarks. Hudak was offended by that, but Fire Chief Dave Stapinski got up to say that each vehicle has been carefully researched and that was based on the assurances of a committee that included two Commissioners.
Tom Nolan stated there were a lot of half truths being disseminated, and the realitiy is that the more expensive fire resuce truck was part of the approved 2014 budget. He pointed out that the Township did not spend 57% of its capital projects in 2014.
Hidak claimed that the Township has not raised taxes because of all the building, but the Township is nearly built out. "That is all I have to say," he stated for the fifteenth time.
Voting in favor of the budget were Marty Zawarski, Tom Nolan and Phil Barnard. Voting against it were Pat Breslin and Michael Hudak.