Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bethlehem Tp Ponders No-Tax-Hike Budget

Last year, following four contentious budget hearings, Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted to raise taxes 1.01 mills (18.4%) to a 7.09 millage rate. A home assessed at $100,000 received a $709 tax bill. What about next year? A budget proposed by Manager Melissa Shafer proposes no tax hike. But $17.4 million in expected expenditures exceed $16.8 million in anticipated revenue, creating a structural deficit. The Township will balance the budget by dipping into its general fund, leaving the Township with a year-end balance of $1.8 million. This is about 10% of projected revenue.

Taxes account for 66% of the revenue in 2017. But 13% of the revenue comes from the general fund.

Shafer is concerned that the fund balance is continuing to drop. This, combined with capital projects like Brodhead Road reconstruction and renovations at the Community Center, has led Shafer to suggest quarter mill tax hikes in each of the next two years.

Good luck with that!

Last year, news of a proposed tax hike resulted in the defeat of two of three Commissioners seeking re-election. It's highly unlikely that Commissioners will take a no-tax hike budget and raise taxes.

There will be four budget hearings, and the first of these occurred last night. Last year, they were packed. This year, there were far fewer angry residents.


Anonymous said...

I don't use Brodhead Rd or go to the mold infested community center and a Township resident, how fair is that?

Looks like 3% salary raises across the board for all department heads and in the public works department where failure and lack of maintenance & management is the cause, how is that justified?

Anonymous said...

What makes you so sure that both of those commissioners lost because of the proposed tax hike??

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am sure bc the proposed taxhike last year was highly unpopular and the same people who railed against it worked against incumbent Comm'rs seeking re-election. Ironically, tea party central elected two Dems.

Anonymous said...

Quality of life here in BT is declining. It was sad to hear the story in the ET today about the folks who had their window shattered by punk kids after having it cracked sometime earlier. I live not far from these folks and have been subjected to the following within the past year:
-A Dunkin Donuts box that someone took a shit in placed on my yard.
-Graffiti applied to my driveway on two occasions. I saw another nearby residence where the sidewalk and a street sign was sprayed
-At least 6 soda bottles full of urine found in my yard.
-Punk kids that pace around the street at twilight yelling obscenities and loitering.
-The guy in the jacked up truck that drives down Carter Road ten times a day doing at least 55mph.
-Someone walked off with a $20 folding chair in my driveway that I forgot to bring inside after returning home at night.

And yes, Brodhead Road is a steaming pile of crap. They are no further along than they were a year ago towards repaving it. Zero progress.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I promise to stop shitting in Dunkin' Donut Boxes. I thought you were Hudak.

Joking aside, I blame the comprehensive plan. There will be a meeting tomorrow night, and no one will come, except for insiders, and whatever Comita says will be accepted as gospel even though he really knows nothing about planning. If you have a chance, drop in on them and tell them you appreciate their efforts. The Township is too dense, has lost its rural charm and is plagued by stormwater and traffic, thanks to poor planning. This has been a long time coming. You can't blame this on the current board. You would have to go back to the '70s and '80s. Not the '60s. My dad was solicitor then.

Anonymous said...

I may come. If I do I'll be the guy in the back row squirming in the chair and eye-rolling every 45 seconds, wishing he had selected the large coffee cup at Wawa. I thought Comitta's whole claim to fame was creating "traditional neighborhood developments" where you take 100 acres of farmland in the middle of nowhere, preserve 60 acres for open space, and build 40 acres of old-timey looking houses on top of each other with porches out front, the garage in an alley, your neighbor 10' away, and the ability to walk to a couple of restaurants which will go out of business 5 years later. Not sure how that fits into BT currently.

Anonymous said...

The 191 exits on 22 are magnificent monuments to crackerjack planning.
Just stunning.

Anonymous said...

Tom Nolan wants to spend Bethlehem Township tax payer money on 22 and 191. Doesn't the SR before them mean something. Tom Nolan, wake up.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He knows that. The lights are not under complete PennDot control.