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Property taxes to diminish one mill

Published October 23. 2009 05:00PM

Residents who live in Palmerton will see a one-mill reduction in their property taxes in 2010.

Borough council, on a 5-0 vote, Thursday granted tentative approval to next year's $4,693,005 budget. Councilman Richard Nothstein and Councilwoman Sheri Malik were absent.

The budget, though subject to change, would reduce the millage rate one mill from 9.27 to 8.27 mills.

That means the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which would be assessed at $50,000, would pay $413.50, down $50.50 from the $464 that person paid to the borough this year.

Borough manager Rodger Danielson said the budget in its current form "drops our general fund by one mill."

"We continue to follow the economy we're in," Danielson said. It's a rather conservative approach."

However, the budget does call for a $10 increase in the monthly sewer rates, Danielson said.

"Our sewer rates are still very, very compatible, and quite frankly, a lot less than surrounding municipalities," he said.

Danielson noted that last year council chose not to increase the monthly sewer ch value\=\"226 128 156\"/=



rate bill, despite the fact it considered an additional $5 charge in an effort to help offset a $6.5 million project to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant and sewage treatment plant.

If the budget were approved in its current incarnation, the new sewage rates would go into effect Jan. 1.

Also as part of the budget, Danielson said money has been set aside for a new police cruiser. He said the borough purchases a new cruiser on a biannual basis.

Councilman Chris Olivia said he would like to see money set aside in the budget for roadwork.

I know there's nothing in there for it, but Smith Avenue and Charles Street are really bad," Olivia said. "I'm going to take a close look at this budget, because I hate to see these roads deteriorating, and I hate to see them not being fixed."

Danielson also noted the borough, like everyone else, is set to see a substantial increase in electricity costs.

"We've got a lot of prices that have gone up on us," he said. PPL has said there will be a 30 percent increase."

Danielson cautioned that the budget is not finalized, and said it would likely change over time. Council will likely grant final adoption of the budget in December.

This year, residents saw a 19 percent hike in their property tax rates after council approved a budget with a 1.5 mill increase that raised the millage rate from 7.77 to 9.27 mills.

That meant the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, which was assessed at $50,000, paid $464 to the borough, up $75 from the $389 they paid last year.

Also as part of that budget, residents saw a 10 percent increase in their water rates as well, which resulted in about a $1 more a month for a single person, and about $3.50 for a family of four.

That came after the borough's municipal authority approved a resolution that established new water rates for property owners and consumers who are served by the borough's water system.

Along with the customer charge came a new water consumption charge that applied per quarter for the first 500 cubic feet. A consumption rate of 1,000 cubic feet for the first 500 cubic feet was included in the customer charge, while the next 1,500 cubic feet was $49.50, and over 2,000 cubic feet was $43.42.

Additionally, the resolution amended rates for raw water service. The rate per 1,000 gallons per quarter for the first 8,333,333 gallons was .50, while all additional gallons was .28.

In 2007, council passed a budget that left the property tax rate unchanged. However, as part of that year's budget, council did raise the monthly sewer rate $5, from $18.50 to $23.50 in a move officials said would help the borough afford a costly upgrade to its sewage treatment plant.

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