Schuylkill Township officials hold line on 2013 budget
Schuylkill Township supervisors were able to hold the line on the 2013 budget and residents in the township will not be seeing a tax increase. The township expects to see $428,220 in revenue against $425,427 in expenditures.
A significant increase in this year's budget will be the cost of workmen's compensation insurance. The township will see an approximate 25% increase in their premium, following several claims. The increase, which had been announced at last month's meeting, raised several questions from the supervisors and from members of the fire department. B.J. Giangiulio, a representative from the township's insurance agent, H.A. Thomson Company, was on hand to provide answers.
Giangiulio explained the township's premiums are based on a 3 year rolling average. He explained that the premium in 2011 was based on claims filed in 2010, 2009, and 2008, during which time the township filed at least one claim. The township filed another claim in 2012, but Giangiulio said that won't be factored in until 2014. However, he also pointed out any claim filed at all will result in the 25% increase. "So you're saying whether we filed one claim or one hundred claims, it would be the same?" asked Tuscarora Fire Chief Thomas Slane. "That is correct," said Giangiulio. "That doesn't seem very fair," responded Slane.
Giangiulio also said there were two claims filed that had been denied during that time as well. Slane also brought up recent legislation passed regarding the cancer presumption premiums, which are expected to increase the township's insurance costs another 25% in the coming years.
During the conversation with Giangiulio, exactly who was covered under the township's workmen's compensation was also discussed and it was noted that supervisors who are may be doing work for the township are, in fact, not covered by the insurance if they are injured. Chairman Linda DeCindio cited recent work done by the supervisors to help clear debris left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. "If we were hurt, we wouldn't have been covered," she asked. "No," responded Giangiulio. Employees of the township who are paid a wage, including road crew, the secretary/treasurer, and the police are covered. Additionally, members of the fire departments who are responding to a call are also covered, and reimbursed according to the statewide average salary of other firemen, in the event of an injury while on the job. DeCindio asked if she would be covered as she is a member of the fire department. Giangiulio explained that she would only be covered if the fire department was called to the scene and she was acting on their behalf.
In other business, the supervisors approved a request from the Tamaqua Library to continue their support in the amount of $300. They received a notification from township solicitor Michael Greek, who will be increasing his hourly fees to $90 per hour.
Secretary Mary Bubel announced that there are still $2885 in outstanding garbage bills. The delinquent property owners are going to be turned over to the district magistrate. The township received a check for $300 from the County related to a yard and property clean up fine that was levied seventeen months ago.