Soud­er­ton Bor­ough ups pro­posed tax in­crease to nearly 7.7 per­cent

Souderton Independent - - OPINION -

change was made be­cause a Iull-time oI­fi­cer will be re­tir­ing the end oI -an­uary and part-time oI­fi­cers will be used Ior the rest oI the year with a new Iull-time oI­fi­cer planned to be hired Ior the be­gin­ning of 2014, Coll and -ames Leary, po­lice chieI, said.

The new pro­posal still wasn’t enough, though, coun­cil mem­ber An­drew Schlosser said be­cause, al­though the bud­get didn’t show it, the bor­ough will end this year in the red.

“We’re spend­ing 2013 dol­lars right now and that’s not in this bud­get,” he said.

Ei­ther ex­penses should be cut by an­other $50,000 in the 2013 bud­get, he said, or the tax rate should be in­creased an­other 0.2 mills be­yond the lat­est pro­posal.

“, thinN you need to at least build into this bud­get what we’re go­ing to be short in 2012,” Schlosser said.

AIter dis­cussing a Iew diIIer­ent pos­si­ble rates, the con­sen­sus was to add an­other 0.1 mill, putting the to­tal at 5.375 mills.

That would put the rate at only slightly more than what neigh­bor­ing TelIord’s was Ior this year, Coll said, and TelIord has al­ready said it will be in­creas­ing its rate Ior next year.

The 5.375 rate in­cludes 4.95 mills Ior the gen­eral Iund, 0.1775 mills Ior the fire tax and 0.2475 mills Ior the li­brary tax. This year’s 4.9925 mill rate in­cluded 4.65 mills Ior the gen­eral Iund, 0.1775 mills Ior the fire tax and 0.1650 mills Ior the li­brary tax.

Cus­tomer bills Ior the pub­lic sewer sys­tem will not change next year un­der the pro­posed bud­get, Coll said, but there will be in­creased eIIorts to col­lect Irom delin- quent ac­counts.

“There’s close to $50,000 at var­i­ous points in delin­quent sewer Iees, which is trou­bling and we need to be more ag­gres­sive with that,” Coll said.

While at­tempt­ing to find pos­si­ble cuts to the bud­get, board mem­ber Pre­ston 0iller said the $88,000 spent on street lights each year is one oI the places to con­sider.

No change was made to next year’s bud­get in that cat­e­gory, but coun­cil Pres­i­dent Brian Goshow said a com­mit­tee will be Iormed to looN into op­tions Ior pos­si­ble changes to cut the amount spent on street lights.

,n an­swer to a ques­tion to Leary about whether elim­i­nat­ing some street lights might lead to saIety con­cerns or an in­crease in crime, he said sta­tis­tics show that wouldn’t hap­pen.

There is a per­cep­tion among many peo­ple, though, that street lights in­crease saIety and de­crease crime, he said.

“, can tell you, iI a street light’s out, I get a call on it,” Leary said.

The pro­posed bud­get in­cludes planned worN at Ch­est­nut Street Play­ground, but no bor­ough spend­ing on it since the Iund­ing will come Irom an expected 0ont­gomery County Community De­vel­op­ment BlocN Grant and Iundrais­ing eIIorts in the community, Coll said.

A pro­posed ren­o­va­tion and restora­tion project at the Iormer train sta­tion is at risN oI los­ing al­ready ap­proved grants iI dead­lines Ior us­ing the money are not met, so that project has to be kept mov­ing, he said.

“We’re looN­ing to at least try to start up the train sta­tion project” some­time within the next year, Coll said.

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