Abing­ton ap­proves bud­get in­crease

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

Abing­ton res­i­dents will see a 1.3 per­cent tax hike in 2013.

In a 12-2 vote, the Abing­ton Town­ship Board of Com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved a $34,304,004 bud­get at the DHF. 20 finDO EuGJHW PHHWing — a slight de­crease from the $34,320,164 pre­lim­i­nary bud­get pro­posed in Novem­ber.

The 1.3 per­cent tax in­FrHDVH LV D firH WD[ VurJH WKDW will bring in an ad­di­tional $171,500 in rev­enue to help RIIVHW D GH­fiFLW RI $483,835. The in­crease rep­re­sents $8 in ad­di­tional taxes for a home as­sessed at the district av­er­age of $150,000.

Town­ship Man­ager MiFKDHO LHFHvrH VDLG WKH firH tax rev­enue will be di­vided DPRnJ WKH firH FRPSDnLHV, fund phys­i­cals and $85,000 of the funds will be di­rected to­ward cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures — $25,000 for re­pairs to the firH GHSDrWPHnW’V WrDLnLnJ fa­cil­ity and $60,000 will be al­lo­cated to­ward a train­ing sim­u­la­tor.

In ad­di­tion, $315,000 will be taken from the fund bal­ance to help off­set the $483,855 short fall, Le­Fevre said.

Com­mis­sion­ers Steven Kline and Robert Wachter voted against the bud­get. Com­mis­sioner James Ring was not present and ex­cused from the vote.

Wachter said he was not in fa­vor of any tax in­crease and that the taxes should not EH rDLVHG VSHFL­fiFDOOy IRr RnH de­part­ment in the town­ship.

“I think we need to tighten our belts and stay within what we have,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Kline also spoke out DJDLNVW WKH fiNDO EUGJHW.

“WKLOH , VUSSRUW WKH fiUH FRPSDNLHV, I be­lieve at this time we should not be SUWWLNJ PRNHy DZDy IRU D fiUH VLPUOD­tor, which I be­lieve, is a lux­ury,” he VDLG. “3UWWLNJ DZDy $60,000 IRU D fiUH sim­u­la­tor is some­thing we can do with­out in the short term.”

Kline also said that us­ing money from the refuse fund bal­ance to fund road over­lay projects and, what ap­peared to be a 5 per­cent bud­get in­crease for the po­lice de­part­ment, are other rea­sons why he did not sup­port the bud­get.

In re­sponse to Kline’s com­ments, Abing­ton po­lice Chief Wil­liam Kelly said the po­lice de­part­ment re­quested less money for 2013 by ap­prox­i­mately $15,000.

Con­trac­tual raises and in­ter-de­part­men­tal al­lo­ca­tion — items the po­lice GHSDUWPHNW GRHV NRW LN­flUHNFH — DUH rea­sons why the po­lice bud­get ap­pears to have an in­crease, Kelly said.

Sev­eral board mem­bers spoke in fa­vor of the bud­get in­clud­ing Com­mis­sion­ers Dennis wapone and Matthew Wil­lis who said that tak­ing care of the NHHGV RI WKH fiUH GHSDUWPHNW LV HVVHNWLDO to safety of the town­ship.

“,I ZH KDYH WKH FDSDELOLWy WR JLYH [WKH fiUH GHSDUWPHNWV@ ZKDW WKHy NHHG WR GR their job to pro­tect us, our res­i­dents and our dwellings we need to give it to them,” wapone said. “The ladies and gen­tle­men in both the Abing­ton po­lice DNG fiUH GHSDUWPHNW SUW WKHLU OLYHV RN the line ev­ery sin­gle day … and I don’t think there should be any ques­tion about this bud­get.”

If the tax in­crease was for some­thing RWKHU WKDN fiUH VDIHWy, WLOOLV VDLG KH would be op­posed to it.

“,I RUU YROUNWHHU fiUH­fiJKWHUV ZHUH paid, you’d see an enor­mous tax in­crease,” he said. “I think it’s im­por­tant we give our vol­un­teers the best equip­ment and train­ing we can.”

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