Mahoning Township residents will not see an increase in 2012 in their tax bill, as the township's valuations and income will absorb a half-mill increase at no additional cost to the taxpayers.

The board of supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the $2,301,851 budget for next year, which is funded by a 4.25 mill tax rate.

"We added a quarter mill to both the road machinery equipment fund and the fire equipment fund in anticipation of future needs to purchase equipment," said John Wieczorek, township chairman, prior to the vote.

Wieczorek said that in the next few years the board will need to consider replacing the fire company's tanker as well as possibly a dump truck for the road crew. He specified these were not purchases planned in the upcoming year, but feels the board should begin to raise capital toward those goals.

When the vote was taken, Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt was the only one opposed to the budget, while Supervisors Linda Benner, Frank Ruch, George Stawnyczyj and Wieczorek voted in favor. After the meeting, Steigerwalt said his opposition was due to his belief that recent developments in the township are not being considered in the budget.

"The necessary money is in the budget, but I don't believe it is all necessarily in the proper line items. I think there are some expenses coming down in the next several months that we need to consider," said Steigerwalt.

While he voted against the budget itself, Steigerwalt did join the majority in unanimously approving the 4.25 millage rate.

In related financial matters, Stawnyczyj pointed out the township has once again become a Community Development Block Grant municipality, which entitles it to federal funding each year without competing against the other county municipalities as it has had to do for the past decade. This will begin next year.

Wieczorek pointed out that the township already received CDBG funds last year for Beaver Street but Stawnyczyj said those funds came from competition with other non-entitlement communities, while this letter guarantees funds for the next 10 years instead of having to compete in the county pool.

In a story a few days ago, the TIMES NEWS reported that Lansford Borough lost its entitlement status this year due to a decrease in its population to less than 4,000 people. Ten years ago Mahoning Township missed the entitlement status by 22 people. Since then, according to the last census in 2010, Mahoning Township passed the threshold with 4,325 people which guarantees the funding to the township for the next decade.