The Rush Township board of supervisors' 2-1 decision to advertise the 2012 budget for public review was met with disagreement involving raises at Tuesday's meeting in the municipal building.
Vice Chairman Shawn Gilbert voted an emphatic no. He's against the budget, which will be voted on next month, because of a four percent raise for township employees.
"Why are we giving our employees a 70-80 cent an hour raise?" Gilbert asked Chairman Stephen W. Simchak, referring to a remark he had made during the budget presentation about the uncertainty of the market and economic recession.
"Because our workers deserve a raise," Simchak answered.
"Well, we're in a recession," Gilbert said. "There are a lot of other state employees, federal employees that don't get raises, but our township, every year, gives these monster raises out."
Several crowd members were also unhappy with the raises given
The raise is based on the one given in the police contract. Because the police get a raise, both Chairman Simchak and Supervisor Robert J. Leibensperger believe it is only fair that all township employees also get one.
"What they [the police], get, everybody gets," Simchak said.
"We're paying $7,200 a year for medical," Leibensperger said, "and it's going to go up. If we're going to charge the employees for medical, then we should have at least given them some sort of raise…If we're giving four percent to all the police officers, we're giving four percent to everybody. It only averages out to very minimal." With the raise, Leibensperger said, some of the lower paid employees will be making $10.80, $11.80 an hour.
According to Simchak's presentation, the 2012 budget reflects income totals of $3,067,605.28 for township employees and $2,998,735.77 for expenses.
Not only will there be no tax increase for residents, but the yearly garbage fee will drop $15, totaling to $130.
The presentation also notes that no township employees will be laid off. Real estate value increased to 106,833 per mill from $106,884 per mill in 2011, a $51 difference. The township's millage (property tax) remains at 5.62.
The liquid fuels portion the state is giving to the township in 2012 decreased by $4,976, going from $104,964 in 2011 to $99,988. "We have roads that should be getting liquid fuels amounts," Leibensperger said, "and it dropped. We're going to have to work to get that money."
A 2-1 majority approved the purchase of a Taser for the police department. Simchak voted no against the $800 purchase because the department already has two.
Lastly, because there were two discrepancies in the agreement, likely a typo Attorney Yurchak said, the board pushed back its vote on Centax, a tax collection agency, for it to collect the local services tax for the township next year. On one page, the contract said three-year renewals, and on another, it said two-year renewals.
If approved, Centax will receive 1.35 percent-worth in fees of the total amount of taxes collected. The board will vote whether to sign the agreement at the next meeting on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. in the municipal building.