No tax increase in 2019 budget
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.