For the fifth year running, Palmerton residents will see no increase in their property tax rate.
That's after borough council, on a 6-0 vote, agreed Thursday to adopt the 2014 budget without an increase in the property tax rate. Councilman Jason Behler was absent.
Next year's $5,359,227 budget will leave the millage rate unchanged at 8.27 mills. For the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which would be assessed at $50,000, they will again pay $413.50 to the borough next year.
In his budget address, borough Manager Rodger Danielson stated that next year's spending plan is presented without any of the building projects from the last few years involved.
Danielson noted that the borough's wastewater treatment plant, as well as its recently-built Fifth Street fire station, have now both been completed.
Operationally, changes will more likely come on the personnel side with the announced retirement of Public Works supervisor Joe Kercsmar a borough employee for over 40 years - in the form of adjustments that will have to be made to meet supervisory demands, he said.
Danielson added, "Economically, the borough seems to be in a fairly stable position."
Next year's budget does not anticipate any tax or fee rate changes, while the 2012 sewer rate increase continues to cover both the operations and debt service for that department, Danielson said. The new solid waste collection contract will hopefully keep those rates in line for the five-year term of that contract, while the water fund and general fund continue to perform as expected, enabling both to remain unchanged next year, he said.
The capital expenditures budgeted will include a new police vehicle, as well as a replacement pick-up truck for the Public Works Department, Danielson said. Also, a new roof surface is being looked at for the Municipal Service Building at 401 Delaware Ave., he said.
Road or utility capital construction will only be done from reserve funds on an as-needed basis if failures occur, said Danielson, who added that in 2015, the borough may be ready to begin a program to resurface its streets, as its bonds for the road reconstruction program of the 1990s will be retired next year.
"With the return of four incumbent council members following November's election, this should also signal a stable, experienced management team," Danielson said. "We look forward to meeting the demands of our community."
The last time residents saw a tax increase was in 2009, when council approved a 1.5-mill, or 19-percent, hike 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 in 2008.
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.
In 2010, residents actually saw a 1-mill reduction in their property tax rates, which lessened the millage rate from 9.27 to 8.27 mills. That meant the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which was assessed at $50,000, paid $413.50 in property taxes that year, down $50.50 from the $464 they paid in 2009. That budget did, however, call for a $10 increase in the monthly sewer rates.