At the Commissioners' meeting last night, Manager Doug Bruce unveiled a proposed budget $19M budget for next year. The good news? His spending plan seeks no tax hike. The bad news? He is deficit spending To balance the books, he will dip into the Township's rainy day fund to the tune of $1.77 million. He still projects a $2.97 million fund balance at the end of next year, but warns this structural imbalance will ultimately result in a tax hike.
There will be a three per cent sewage treatment rate increase next year. This is because Bethlehem City increased its sewage treatment rate to 8.4%.
Employee wages and benefits account for 60% of the budget. Bruce explains that the Township has decreased its full-time workforce from 93 to 85 over the past decade.
As a result of contractual obligations, Teamster and police union workers are slated for a 3.5% raise next year. Employees who bargain through AFSCME will get a 3% hike. Bruce proposes 3.5% for the Township's non-union workforce.
If approved, the millage rate will remain at 7.74 mills. This means a home assessed at $50,000 will see an annual tax bill of $387.
Budget hearings, which are open to the public, are scheduled at the municipal building as follows:
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
The first public reading of next year's budget will take place on November 18, after which the budget will be advertised and made available for public inspection. A final vote is scheduled December 16.
Commissioners Malissa Davis and Janice Blake were absent.