Whit­pain bud­get calls for no tax hike

The Ambler Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Celona

For Whit­pain tax­pay­ers, the pic­ture looks pretty good — not just for 2013 but for WKH yHDUV WR FRPH.

“There will be no tax in­crease pro­posed for 2013,” Town­ship Man­ager Ro­man Pron­czak said at the townVKLS’V fiUVW buGgHW wRUkVKRS 2FW. 16. “WH GR nRW Dn­tic­i­pate a tax in­crease be­ing nec­es­sary for two to three DGGLWLRnDO yHDUV.”

Dur­ing the work­shop, Pron­czak pre­sented the pro­posed 2013 bud­get, which calls for keep­ing the tax rate flDW IRU WKH WKLUG VWUDLgKW yHDU.

With no tax in­crease, the PLOODgH UDWH wRuOG VWDy DW 3.2 PLOOV. A PLOO HTuDWHV WR $1 Ln WDxHV SHU $1,000 Ln DVVHVVHG UHDO HVWDWH vDOuH. A UHVLGHnFH as­sessed at the town­ship DvHUDgH RI $226,000 wRuOG FRnWLnuH WR SDy $723 Ln PunLFLSDO WDxHV.

The pro­posed bud­get an­tic­i­pates gen­eral fund rev­enue will come in at $11,898,450, wKLOH HxSHn­di­tures are bud­geted to be $12,266,447, wLWK WKH GH­fiFLW cov­ered by the town­ship’s IunG bDODnFH.

On the rev­enue side of the

bud­get, the town­ship con­tin­ues to face bud­get chal­lenges in light of the econ­o­myK

“They’re very sim­i­lar to what we faced in the 2012 bud­get,” Pron­czak said, not­ing re­turns on pen­sion funds are un­pre­dictable, real es­tate trans­fers are slow and the earned in­come tax re­mains flDW.

The four big­gest com­po­nents of the town­ship’s rev­enue are the earned in­come, real es­tate, lo­cal ser­vices and deed trans­fer taxes, which are expected to bring in A5 mil­lion, A3K88 mil­lion, AT30,000 and A450,000, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to Pron­czakK The pro­jected GHHG WUDn­sIHU WD[ fiJuUH marks a A150,000 de­crease from the cur­rent yearK Con­tin­ued prop­erty re­assess­ments could also im­pact rev­enue, as the town­ship has seen 119 as­sess­ment changes WKURuJK WKH fiUsW nLnH PRnWKs of this yearK

Mean­while, the pro­posed gen­eral fund ex­pen­di­tures are down A109,351 from the cur­rent yearK

Per­son­nel-re­lated costs continue to dom­i­nate the ex­pen­di­ture side of the bud­get, with A8K23 mil­lion, or ST per­cent, of the gen­eral fund bud­get go­ing to salaries and EHnH­fiWs, KHDOWK EHnH­fiWs DnG pen­sions, ac­cord­ing to Pron­czakK

Of the A12K2SS mil­lion in pro­posed ex­pen­di­tures, 44 per­cent will go to the po­lice depart­ment, 23 per­cent to the pub­lic works depart­ment, 8 per­cent to ad­min­is­tra­tion and 5 per­cent to parks and re­cre­ation, ac­cord­ing to Pron­czakK The re­main­ing ex­pen­di­tures are a A500,000 trans­fer to the cap­i­tal re­serve fund and A1K9TS mil­lion in other ex­pen­di­tures and trans­fersK

With that half-mil­lion dol­lar trans­fer, the cap­i­tal re­serve fund is expected to start at nearly A5K8 mil­lion, with A1,T3T,400 bud­geted for cap­i­tal projects in 2013, ac­cord­ing to Pron­czakK

In­cluded among those are sev­eral land and build­ing pro­jectsK The town­ship plans to re­place the po­lice build­ing roof (A30,000), put a roof over the pub­lic works park­ing lot (A120,000), mod­ify the mu­nic­i­pal com­plex’s park­ing lot (A100,000) and up­grade the re­me­di­a­tion build­ing, which is cur­rently owned by the DbP but will be turned over to the town­ship in the com­ing year (A135,000)K

Other cap­i­tal projects in­clude A250,000 for West $PEOHU flRRG FRnWURO DnG UHvi­tal­iza­tion ef­forts, A2S2,400 to re­place four ve­hi­cles and a mower, A250,000 to ad­dress drainage is­sues in the vicin­ity of Ply­mouth and Mor­ris roads and A125,000 for side­walk im­prove­ments in West Ambler, for which the town­ship re­ceived a grantK

While pro­vid­ing num­bers for the com­ing year, Pron­czak also looked fur­ther down the roadK

“When the town­ship looks at the bud­get … we look at DW OHDsW D fivH-yHDU KRUL]Rn,” he saidK


said rev­enues and ex­pen­di­tures can be expected to re­main fairly even for the next few years, but come 2015, the town­ship an­tic­i­pates start­ing to have RSHUDWLnJ GH­fiFLWs.

BDsHG Rn WKRsH fiJuUHs, WKH town­ship does not an­tic­i­pate hav­ing to raise taxes in the fol­low­ing two to three years, DFFRUGLnJ WR RI­fiFLDOs.

Town­ship staff and the board of su­per­vi­sors cred­ited the town­ship’s fo­cus on fivH-yHDU EuGJHWLnJ DnG WKH fisFDO sHFuULWy RI WKH WRwn­ship, as shown this year by two dif­fer­ent as­sess­mentsK

bar­lier this year, Moody’s awarded the town­ship a AAA bond rat­ing, mak­ing LW RnH RI RnOy fivH WRwn­ships in the state to achieve this top rat­ing, ac­cord­ing to Pron­czakK Mean­while, the Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trust stud­ied the tax burden on res­i­dents in 120 com­mu­ni­ties in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Mont­gomery Coun­ties, rank­ing Whit­pain as hav­ing the sixth-low­est tax burden of all the com­mu­ni­ties stud­ied and the sec­ond-low­est in Mont­gomery Coun­tyK

“WH KDvH Dn HI­fiFLHnWOy run town­ship, and for a few years we don’t have to worry about a tax in­crease,” Su­per­vi­sor Tony Greco saidK

“We are spend­ing your money wisely, and we will continue to do so,” board Chair­man saidK

The town­ship will hold two more pub­lic bud­get work­shops OctK 23 and kovK 13, both at 9 aKmK at the town­ship build­ingK The


Palmer board will also take pub­lic com­ments on the pro­posed bud­get at its kovK 20 and DecK 4 meet­ingsK

The board an­tic­i­pates vot­ing on bud­get adoption at its DecK 4 meet­ingK

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