A Lower Towamensing Township official is disappointed with a decision by Carbon County Commissioners to raise the county real estate taxes by 48.7 percent this year.
Supervisor Ron Walbert said on Monday that he is "totally dismayed by the action of the county commissioners", who last month on a 2-1 vote, adopted the 2013 budget with a 3.357-mill increase.
That decision raised the total millage to 10.25 mills, which means that a homeowner with a $100,000 home that is assessed at $50,000, will pay an additional $168 in county real estate taxes this year.
Also as part of the budget, it was announced that the county's Solid Waste department would be cut; though it will remain operational for the time being.
Walbert noted that while he has no qualms about funding a recycling program, he isn't about to send any money the county's way.
"The county's actions and large increase, I think, is unconscionable, and I don't feel they deserve one nickel," Walbert said. "This is not an example of how government is supposed to function."
Newly-elected supervisors Chairman Brent Green said he agreed that the county left the township "in the dark".
Resident Herman Bollinger said he doesn't believe the county should ever have been in charge of recycling, or Solid Waste, and added he disagreed with the commissioners' handling of the Weatherwood building, as well as the Packerton Yards building.
Bollinger noted there are residents in the county - such as himself - who are 10 years behind on their taxes.
"Now with the raise, what are they going to do," Bollinger said. "This going up is not helping us any."
Duane Dellecker, director of Solid Waste who was in attendance, offered his perspective on the potential elimination of the department.
Dellecker said "unfortunately, the county is taking the position they no longer will afford it" due to financial difficulty.
He said a meeting of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee held in November was well attended, with 16 of 23 municipalities represented.
Dellecker noted the SWAC is comprised of representatives from townships, boroughs, private hauling, and the business community throughout the county that meets quarterly to discuss Solid Waste and recycling matters to be reviewed by the county commissioners.
He said that Kidder and Banks townships are in support of the recycling operation.
"So far, it looks favorable," Dellecker said. "The commissioners will have to make the decision."
Dellecker said the county will terminate the recycling program, effective Feb. 28, unless the municipalities agree to financially support the program.
"Basically, the county has informed the communities to discuss the issue and get back to our office no later than Jan. 31, on whether or not they will financially support the program," he said.
The next SWAC meeting is proposed to be held Feb. 15, Dellecker said.
Walbert again interjected.
"I don't object to funding it, but I won't send one nickel to the county," Walbert said. "They don't deserve it."
Afterward, supervisors agreed to table a decision as to whether the township will financially support the program.
In other business, supervisors:
- Appointed Mike Davis to a term on the township's Planning Commission.
- Appointed Robert Kester as an alternate on the Planning Commission.
- Appointed Supervisor Jesse Mendez as a SWAK advisory committee representative.
- Tabled the appointment of a Tax Committee Delegate.