This is not a misprint: Palmerton residents will see a 1-mill reduction in their property tax rates next year.
Borough Council unanimously agreed on Thursday to adopt the 2010 budget, which will lessen the millage rate from 9.27 to 8.27 mills.
For the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which would be assessed at $50,000, they would pay $413.50 next year, down $50.50 from the $464 that person paid this year.
Also as part of the budget, money has been set aside to purchase a new police cruiser, a practice the borough partakes in on a biannual basis; a purchase of lawn equipment; and road paving work to surface portions of Residence Park, including Charles Street, Fourth Street, and Edgemont Avenue.
The budget does, however, call for a $10 increase in the monthly sewer rates that will go into effect Jan. 1.
In accordance with the new fee, council adopted an ordinance that sets the 2010 sewer rate.
The metered rate schedule calls for a minimum $100.50 charge per quarter on a quantity per quarter for up to 5,000 cubic feet, as well as a $100.50 plus $20.10 per 1,000 cubic feet over the first 5,000 for over 5,000 feet. The unmetered rate schedule will result in $100.50 per quarter.
Borough Manager Rodger Danielson previously noted that council chose not to increase the monthly sewer rate bill last year when it considered an additional $5 charge in an effort to help offset a $6.5 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant and sewage treatment plant.
In another budgetary matter, council adopted a resolution for the 2010 Liquid Fuels Tax, and adopted an ordinance to re-enact the 2010 Act 511 taxes.
This year, residents saw a 19-percent hike in their property tax rates after council approved a budget that called for a 1.5 mill increase that raised the millage rate from 7.77 to 9.27 mills.
That meant the owner of a $100,000 home, which was assessed at $50,000, paid $464, up $75 from the $389 they paid last year.
Also as part of that budget, residents saw a 10-percent increase in their water rates as well, which resulted in a $1 more a month for a single person, and about $3.50 for a family of four.
That came after the borough's Municipal Authority approved a resolution that established new water rates for property owners and consumers who are served by the borough's public water system.
Along with the customer charge came a new water consumption charge that added per quarter for the first 500 cubic feet. A consumption rate of 1,000 cubic feet for the first 500 cubic feet was included in the customer charge, while the next 1,500 cubic feet was $49.50, and over 2,000 cubic feet was $43.42.
Additionally, the resolution amended rates for raw water service. The rate per 1,000 gallons per quarter for the first 8.333.333 gallons was .50, while all additional gallons was .28.
In 2007, council passed a budget that left the property tax rate unchanged. However, that budget raised the monthly sewer rate $5, from $18.50 to $23.50 in a move officials said would help the borough afford an upgrade to its sewage treatment plant.
Also on Thursday, council recognized a pair of individuals through the adoption of a resolution.
Residents Larry Mertz and Dean Messinger were extolled for their role during a dispute that occurred over the summer.
On July 30, a borough police officer was confronted by a combative subject.
Despite the adverse situation, Mertz and Messinger intervened on behalf of the patrolman.
As a result of their intervention, the individual was thus subdued and restrained without additional damage or injury to the officer or other citizens.
Councilman Chris Olivia said council recognizes the efforts of individuals who go above their everyday needs, and thanked them for helping to make the borough "A Nice Place to Live".
Messinger said others should take heed when similar situations present themselves.
"I just wish more people wouldn't turn their backs, and help out like we did," Messinger said.
In an unrelated matter, resident James Brown thanked council for addressing a matter on Lafayette Avenue.
Brown said his daughter's neighbor, whose address is 570 Lafayette Avenue, had all kinds of garbage, junk, and debris along his property.
"I want to thank you for taking the time to get it started, cleaned up," Brown said. "I'd like to thank council for taking the time to do this."
Danielson told Brown council appreciated his concern on the matter.
"He has been cited four times by police, and the magistrate has given him a $300 fine each time," Danielson said. "The magistrate has given him until March 5."