Town­ship OKs 13 per­cent tax hike

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Rob Hey­man

LOWER MORELAND >> Mu­nic­i­pal taxes will jump $130 next year for the av­er­age town­ship home­owner as part of the ap­proved bud­get for 2019.

The board of com­mis­sion­ers au­tho­rized an in­crease in mills from 4.183 to 4.803 – a 13 per­cent jump. Un­der the cur­rent mill­age rate of 4.183 mill, a res­i­dent with a home as­sessed at the town­ship av­er­age of $210,000 paid $878.43 in real es­tate taxes in 2018. That amount rises to $1,008.63 un­der the newly ap­proved mill­age rate for 2019.

One mill is equiv­a­lent to $1 per $1,000 of as­sessed prop­erty valu­a­tion.

Town­ship Man­ager Chris Hoff­man said the tax in­crease is

be­ing driven by two things – the need to meet con­trac­tual obli­ga­tions tied to salary, ben­e­fits and pen­sion ex­penses, as well as the hir­ing of three new po­lice of­fi­cers for the town­ship.

Hoff­man said the new of­fi­cers are be­ing added to en­hance the town­ship’s fo­cus on proac­tive com­mu­nity polic­ing and ad­dress min­i­mum staffing con­sid­er­a­tions. Po­lice de­part­ment ex­penses in the ap­proved bud­get show an in­crease from $3.8 mil­lion in 2018 to $4.2 mil­lion in 2019, with a ma­jor­ity of the in­crease re­flected in of­fi­cer pay­roll and ben­e­fits. To­tal pub­lic safety ex­penses – which in­cludes those tied to po­lice, fire mar­shal/EMS and code en­force­ment/zon­ing – jump from the $4.2 mil­lion to $4.6 mil­lion next year.

The board of com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the 2019 bud­get Dec. 11.

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