Preliminary budget shows tax hike for Rockledge residents
Rockledge Borough Council Monday voted t o advertise a $ 1.9 mill i on budget f or 2013 t hat i ncludes an 18.6 percent property t ax i ncrease.
“No one wants t o do i t , but at t his t i me, i t ’s t he prudent move t o make,” council President Jason Showmaker said before t he vote.
Under t he proposed i ncrease, a homeowner with a property assessed at t he borough average will pay an additional $ 150 i n property t axes next year, f or a t otal bill of $ 952.50, according to borough f i gures. The i ncreased millage will r aise an extra $ 100,000 in r evenue f or Rockledge in 2013, Borough Manager Grace Metzinger said. Budgeted expenditures will r i se f r om $ 1.73 million to $ 1.85 mill i on, with a f und balance of $ 61,605.68.
The l argest expense driving t he t ax i ncrease is t he unfunded mandate f or police pensions, Showmaker said. Currently, according to Metzinger, t he amount of t he mandate stands at $ 425,000, and in t he proposed budget, t he minimum municipal obligation f or police pensions j umps f r om $ 15,000 f or 2012 to $ 75,000 f or 2013.
I n addition t o pension obligations, t he borough’s capital r eserve has been depleted, and i n 2014, as a r esult of a county mandate, t he borough will be r esponsible f or r eplacing its police r adio system, Showmaker said.
“We have t o … keep an eye on our l i ne i t ems and cut where we can,” he added.
The 2013 budget is available f or i nspection at t he borough building, 121 Huntingdon Pike, and council members have scheduled t heir vote on Dec. 10.
In other business Monday, council voted to t r ansfer $ 100,000 f r om t he borough’s f und account to t he police pension f und.
Police Chief Gerald Miller r eminded r esidents t hat t he holiday season i s also t he season when t he i ncidence of burglary i ncreases, and he urged r esidents t o call county dispatch at 215- 379- 8800 if t hey notice anything suspicious in t heir neighborhoods.
Council Vice President Michael Praediger t hanked r e s i dents f or t heir pati e nce r e gardi ng borough leaf c ol - l e c t i ons a nd said t he a mount of l e a ves t hi s
t he budget
f or year has been overwhelming. Truck crews have spent entire workdays collecting l eaves on half a block, when i n previous years, t hey could cover t hree streets in t he same amount of t i me, he said.
“They are doing absol utely everything t hey can,” he said.
Oak t r ees appear t o be t he primary source of t he additional volume, Councilman Brian Corr i gan said. Generally, oaks shed t heir l eaves gradually t hrough t he autumn, he said, but high winds t his year have r i pped t he l eaves f r om t he branches all at once.
“The l eaves have put up a good f i ght t his year,” Praediger said.