Soud­er­ton dou­bles pro­posed tax in­crease

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

Re­mem­ber that 3.7 per­cent prop­erty tax hike pro­posal in Soud­er­ton?

Well, for­get it. It’s so last week af­ter Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil de­cided Oct. 22 to more than dou­ble it to 7.66 per­cent.

The pro­posed 2013 bud­get will be of­fi­cially pre­sented in Novem­ber, with a fi­nal vote com­ing in De­cem­ber, but if there’s no change to the now pro­posed 5.375 mill rate, it would in­crease the bor­ough prop­erty tax bill on a home as­sessed at $125,000 to $671.88, one as­sessed at $150,000 to $806.25, and $940.63 for a prop­erty as­sessed at $175,000. The cor­re­spond­ing bills at this year’s 4.9925 mill rate would have been $624.07, $748.88 and $873.70. Each mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of as­sessed value.

With the pro­posed $2.6 mil­lion 2013 gen­eral fund bud­get al­ready at $300,000 less than the bor­ough spent in 2011, coun­cil mem­bers said they can’t cut any fur­ther and need more in­come to bal­ance the books. The amount com­ing in from earned in­come, lo­cal ser­vices and real es­tate trans­fer taxes, though, is de­creas­ing.

This year’s bud­get pro­jected $929,000 of in­come from the com­bined per capita, real es­tate trans­fer, earned in­come and lo­cal ser­vices taxes, but the bor­ough is now ex- pect­ing to fall short of those num­bers. Newly re­vised bud­get fig­ures given at the Oct. 22 meet­ing put the bot­tom line for in­come from those taxes for next year’s bud­get at $826,500.

“It’s quite a dif­fer­ence in rev­enue out of these core taxes that has to be made up,” Mike Coll, bor­ough man­ager, said.

The de­creases in the earned in­come and lo­cal ser­vices taxes are prob­a­bly caused in part by the slow econ­omy and in part by cor­rec­tions hav­ing been made to Soud­er­ton pre­vi­ously hav­ing mis­tak­enly re­ceived money from the tax that should have gone to other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in cases in which busi­nesses or peo­ple have a Soud­er­ton mail­ing ad­dress but are not within the bor­ough, he said.

Due to re­assess­ments, the to­tal as­sessed value of prop­erty within the bor­ough is also de­creas­ing.

Oct. 15, Coll sug­gested the prop­erty tax rate be in­creased next year to 5.175 mills, a 3.7 per­cent hike, but some coun­cil mem­bers said that might not be enough.

Oct. 22, he brought in re­vised fig­ures show­ing an­other 0.1 mill in­crease, bring­ing the to­tal to 5.275 mills. He also de­creased next year’s pro­jected spend­ing slightly, chang­ing the bud­geted amount for the po­lice depart­ment to $1,057,957. The

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