For the fourth straight year, Palmerton residents will find themselves in familiar territory: free of any municipal tax increase.
Borough council unanimously agreed on Thursday to grant final adoption to the 2013 budget, which leaves the millage rate unchanged at 8.27 mills.
That means the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which would be assessed at $50,000, will again pay $413.50 in property taxes to the borough next year.
Borough manager Rodger Danielson states in his budget address that "the 2013 budget is presented as the borough continues to address our operating and capital needs in a slow economy."
Among the items highlighted in Danielson's budget address are as follows:
Ÿ "The wastewater treatment plant project, begun in 2011, is now nearing completion and remains largely within expense estimates, even given some construction delays. Some of those delays have been used to keep expenses in check as we used existing facilities to temporarily offset new process needs. For those working in the plant, it has been a constant act of juggling pumping and tank space. While most of the process-necessary construction is complete, some cosmetic work will remain until the spring."
Ÿ "The waterline replacement project on Lehigh Avenue is done to the point of line replacement. The paving restoration will also be done in the spring. This project was done using Community Development Block Grant funding."
Ÿ "The borough is now in the design phase of the new fire station to be built at the corner of Fifth Street and Lehigh Avenue. Proposed construction should begin in the spring and last through the summer. This project is financed with a Local Share Grant of $905,000 obtained through the state."
Ÿ "The Palmerton Municipal Authority continues to review capital improvements projects for their system. The general fund and motor license fund have budgeted money for replacement of street equipment and a new police cruiser."
"The 2013 budget should be a stable platform from which to address the service needs provided for our residents," Danielson said. "Demands coming in 2013 should be within the borough's ability to meet."
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
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.