NEWTOWN SQUARE–Newtown Township supervisors approved, 3-0, Keystone Collections Group, of Downington, as their local services tax collector (LST), at a budget meeting last Wednesday. Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert and Supervisor George Wood were absent from the meeting.
According to township officials, Keystone Collections will charge 1.57 percent of the township's net collections annually in the three-year contract. The contract has an automatic renewal after three years are up. However, Township Solicitor Rich Sokorai stated that a bond will be included in the contract.
"I want a bond in there," said Sokorai. "If it gets breached, I want us to be able to get out of it."
The township has been currently using due to mismanagement and among other things–for the past couple of months to finish off CenTax's one-year contract.
According to township officials, Berkheimer would charge the township 2.05 percent in a new contract, while Tri-State Financial Group, LLC, had a rate of 3.2 percent.
"I’m willing to go with the lowest bidder," Supervisors Chairman Joe Catania. "Berkheimer hasn’t been with us that long. And our Tax Collector Marie Richards has been collecting it for 12 years."
A motion was made by Catania to approve the contract with Keystone, per the solicitor's review, and seconded by Supervisor John Nawn. According to Township Manager Mike Trio, a decision on the LST collector contract had to have been made last week in order for the mailings to go out this quarter. Otherwise, said Trio, the township would be charged with the late mailing fees.
The hiring of a local services tax collector has been earmarked in the 2013 preliminary budget for $10,500.
Last November, supervisors voted 3-1–with Wood abstaining from the vote as he noted he was related to the vice president of the CenTax and former Supervisor Linda Houldin holding the lone nay–to approve the hiring of CenTax as their tax collector.
Michael Hill, vice president of CenTax, previously noted at that meeting that a charge of 1.65 percent of the township's net collections will be made when hired. The township currently collects roughtly $470,000 in local services tax, in which Hill said in the first year he would expect a "bump" in collections.