No tax in­crease in 2019 bud­get

The Southern Berks News - - FRONT PAGE - By Denise Larive

The Amity Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors unan­i­mously ap­proved a 2019 gen­eral fund bud­get of $4,934,549 with no tax in­crease.

The vote came at the board’s Nov. 21 meet­ing and the bud­get was ap­proved fol­low­ing the re­quired 30-day re­view pe­riod and ad­ver­tise­ment of the pend­ing adop­tion.

Amity’s mill­age rate will re­main at 2.6 mills, re­sult­ing in a $260 an­nual tax bill for a prop­erty as­sessed at $100,000.

Su­per­vi­sor Kevin Keifrider was ab­sent from the meet­ing.

Ex­penses for 2019 are go­ing up by $276,381 from the 2018 bud­get.

In­cluded in the bud­get is $52,000 to pur­chase and out­fit a 2019 Chevy Ta­hoe for the Amity Po­lice De­part­ment, and a $250 in­crease to last year’s

$17,250 do­na­tion to the Boone Area Li­brary in Birds­boro.

The board also ap­proved a $25,000 ex­pen­di­ture to par­tic­i­pate in a $100,000 hy­dro­log­i­cal study with PennDOT, which will ex­am­ine road­way flood­ing in the 500 block of Ben­jamin Franklin High­way (Route 422).

An­other new bud­get item is $15,000 for an­i­mal con­trol “of some sort,” said su­per­vi­sors’ Chair­per­son Kim­berly J. Mc­Grath.

The board is still un­de­cided on how the town­ship will deal with its stray an­i­mals.

Board mem­bers re­jected on Nov. 21 the $2 per-capita stray an­i­mal fee agree­ment from the An­i­mal Res­cue League of Berks County in Cumru Town­ship.

Town­ship Man­ager Troy Binga­man was in­structed by the board to fill out and re­turn to the league the fee agree­ment “opt-out” form.

Mc­Grath said the league’s in­voice for the first quar­ter of 2019 charges the town­ship $6,291.50.

“We would have con­sid­ered the ‘pay-to-play,’ but they took it off the ta­ble a month ago,” said Mc­Grath.

“I don’t know who has ex­tra cash lay­ing around to throw at this,” said Su­per­vi­sor Terry L. Jones.

Binga­man said he is aware that one Berks County mu­nic­i­pal­ity is ac­cept­ing the per capita fee agree­ment, while 30 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties op­pose it.

The board tabled on Oct. 17 the league’s fee agree­ment that re­quired a $1,500 an­nual base­line fee from each mu­nic­i­pal­ity, plus ad­di­tional fees for ser­vices ren­dered in each mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Board mem­bers cited the league’s in­abil­ity to prove cer­tain facts, in­clud­ing what mu­nic­i­pal­ity a stray an­i­mal is found in, if it was found by an Amity Town­ship res­i­dent or a non-res­i­dent), as well as whether the an­i­mal was a stray or an owner sur­ren­der.

They said some cats and dogs are also re­peat of­fend­ers, ap­pear­ing of­ten at the league, and which would cost the town­ship ad­di­tional money un­der that fee agree­ment.

The es­ti­mate for Amity Town­ship was an ad­di­tional $14,000 to $16,000 per year.

Amity had pre­vi­ously con­trib­uted $1,000 a year to the An­i­mal Res­cue League.

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