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Franklin Township adopts 2010 budget calling for tax increase

Published December 18. 2009 05:00PM

Franklin Township supervisors adopted the 2010 budget which will increase taxes for township residents by 1-1/2 mills. Since Since one mill equals $10 for every $10,000 of assessed value, taxes on an average home assessed at $80,000 will increase by $120.

Sandra Gaumer, secretary, had noted last month that the taxes were increased because of the economic recession experienced in 2009 which had a significant negative impact on the 2009 budget. Toward the end of 2008 the shortfall was felt was approximately $27,000 less than anticipated and total revenues for 2009 were down $108,197.30.

The greatest revenue loss was in earned income tax, which was down $47,000. Also showing a significant revenue loss was real estate transfer tax, $32,000 and fines were down $18,000. Interest earnings brought in $6,800 less and sewage permits were down $2,500

The township will also received $6,000 in State Liquid Fuels Fund allocation in 2010, due to less gasoline tax revenue and the state Department of Economic Development is going to either eliminate their reimbursement for municipal regulation of Act 537 on-lot sewage, or cut the reimbursement by approximately 60 percent.

For Franklin Township, that will be a loss of $6,200 to $8,000.

Last month Gaumer said that township spending was less than anticipated in the road maintenance department, which saved the township $42,300, but that the police department was over budget by $9,500. In order to balance the budget, supervisors decided to reduce the following items: reduce the transferred amount to road equipment from $15,000 to $10,000; reduce the reserve fund amount to employee benefits from $10,000 to $5,000. The township was able to transfer $30,000 from the garbage fund to the garbage collection vehicle and equipment fund because the expenditure was equal to its revenue.

Since the economy is expected to make a slow recovery, revenues for 2010 are expected to remain below normal. This has affected the township's police pension plan and nonuniformed pension plan which means that the township obligation will be $33,551 more than the State Pension Aid will cover. The supervisors also had to budget more for cost increases in electricity, workers' compensation and liability insurance and wages.

In an effort to cut costs, the supervisors eliminated the $12,000 transfer to the Capital Reserve Police Vehicle and Equipment Fund and reduced the transfer to the Reserve Fund Employees Benefits from $10,000 to $5,000.

Supervisors adopted the 2010 budget that anticipates revenues of $1,638,430.

Expenditures include general government, $523,161; public safety $625,611; sanitation, $346,470; roads, $490,341; recreation, $27,831; conservation, $250; debt service, $140,891; miscellaneous expenditures, $40,949; and other, $14,750.

Supervisors also approved the Rock Street Land Development Plans contingent upon meeting township engineering requirements. Allentown businessman Victor L. Frye has proposed a 25-acre members only campground on the former Otto Campgrounds at 1500 Rock St. in Franklin Township. The first phase of the resort includes 56 rental cottage units, a recreational center, lodge and social hall, five swimming pools, a waterfall, clubhouse and restaurant, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails and other recreational activities.

Supervisors also adopted an amendment to the junk yard ordinance which sets fees for licensing and fees. The costs will range from $25 to $300.

Also, supervisors approved authorizing present tax collector Jean Smith to issue tax certifications until April 1, 2010 and to also allow her to collect delinquent per capita taxes in 2010.

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