No increase in property taxes
Palmerton residents won't have to dig deep into their wallets in 2011.
Borough Council on a 6-0 vote Thursday agreed to adopt next year's $15,566,815 budget with no increase in the property tax rate.
That decision will leave the property tax 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.
Councilman Kris Hoffner praised borough Manager Rodger Danielson and the borough office for their work with the budget.
"I'd like to commend Rodger and the other people the last number of years on council for maintaining such an efficient borough," Hoffner said.
As part of his budget address, Danielson said the borough plans to "meet our community obligations without any cuts in services."
Danielson said the general fund millage and fees will remain unchanged. As with last year, he said the borough hasn't proposed any capital projects, even though other departments will be active.
The water fund will also show no increase in user fees, Danielson said. This year, he said the system saw the addition of pressure boosting pumps to increase services in areas north of Columbia Avenue.
In 2011, Danielson said a new line and laterals will be installed in the 200 and 300 blocks of Lehigh Avenue through the use of Community Development Block Grant funds. That area will then be repaved through the same funding, he said.
Danielson also noted that this year, the borough was notified that it will receive $905,000 from the Local Shares Fund established during the licensing of Pennsylvania casinos. Those funds will be used to build a new fire station for the consolidated fire department, he said.
The most activity, Danielson said, will be reflected in the proposed $12 million rehabilitation of the borough's wastewater treatment plant.
"This project will see a complete change in the borough's treatment process; a change which we feel will offer better operating control and reduced operating costs," he said. "The new efficiencies should help keep future operating costs, and thus customer costs down, and lessen discharge problems in quality and quantity amounts."
Danielson said the new year "will no doubt bring changes and challenges which will need to be met."
"However, I believe that the budget and personnel provide a solid base from which to meet these challenges," he said. "Continued investments by residents and business owners along Delaware Avenue, as well as throughout the town, makes me feel that Palmerton enters its 99th year with reason to be optimistic."
This year, residents 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 this year, down $50.50 from the $464 that person paid in 2009.
This year's budget did, however, call for a $10 increase in the monthly sewer rates
In 2009, residents saw a 19-percent hike in their property tax rates after council approved a budget that called for a 1.5 mill increase 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 the 2009 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 2007, council passed a budget that left the property tax rate unchanged. However, that budget raised the monthly sewer rate $5, from $18.50 to $23.50 in a move officials said would help the borough afford an upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant.