NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved, 3-0, the advertisement of the 2013 preliminary budget at a budget meeting on Wednesday night. Supervisor Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert and Supervisor George Wood were absent from the meeting.
The 2013 preliminary budget calls for a 4.5 percent tax increase. The township's current millage rate is 2.664 and will increase to 2.831 in the preliminary budget. For the average homeowner in Newtown Township–with an average home approximately assessed at $250,000–they will look to pay $42 more in township taxes next year, if the budget is approved. In total, if approved, the average homeowner's real estate taxes will increase from $665 per year to $707 per year.
"We probably have one of the most reasonable real estate taxes in the region," said Township Manager Mike Trio over the phone on Thursday.
The township hopes to build a surplus or approximately $58,000 in reserve for next year's budget. "We're hoping that in the next few years, construction will pick up. Our recommendation was to build that reserve now," said Trio at Wednesday night's meeting.
In addition, the 2013 preliminary budget calls for $7,942,298.10 in revenues and $7,884,709.78 in expenditures.
List of Revenue Budgeted for 2013:
- Taxes, $5,295,198.10–Includes 4.5 percent real estate tax increase for 2013.
- Permits/Fees, $347,500–According to Trio, a new fee schedule will be set up contractors and builders next year. The highest line item under this category falls under Cable TV franchise for $255,083. In addition, the township will kick in their new Residential Rental Program, where older properties with rental units must go through registration of inspection. Total expected revenue is $22,500.
- Inter-Governmental Transfer, $358,400–Slightly lower than last year (2012 was $391,105), considering the recycling grant is lower than last year but increase in fire pension relief and state aid.
- Charges for Services, $30,000–Subdivision & land development fees as well as zoning fees are projected for $15,000 each in revenue next year.
- Public Safety, $505,100–The ambulance services contract with Riddle Memorial Hospital is expected for $425,000 next year.
- Land Development, $913,200–"We expect to bring in a significant amount of building permit fees," said Trio. For 2013, $660,000 in building permits is expected. According to Trio, three large developments will break ground next year, including Toll Brothers, Terrazza, and Rite Aid.
- Other, $243,100–The has been moved to the capital reserve fund. According to Trio, with Toll Brothers underway with construction, approximately $45,000 in revenue will be expected from the developers for the CDCA bond payments. The highest line item here includes the hydrant assessment of $100,100 for next year.
- Inter-Fund Transfers, $250,000–Liquid fuels and highway aid for next year has been budgeted for $200,000. Sewer rent for SR #2 is anticipated for $1,026,475, while SR #3 is anticipated for $326,700.
List of Expenditures Budgeted for 2013:
- Supervisors, $121,480.2–Three supervisors, Lambert, Wood, and John Nawn, will be going on the township health insurance plan next year for a total of $77,830.24. The expense for next year's appointed auditor is $15,500.
- Administration, $572,410–The total cost of salaries for township employees next year will be $335,00. Medical insurance has slightly decreased from the current projected medical insurance cost of $96,000 by year's end to $84,100 for next year.
- Tax Collection, $35,660–Projected local services tax collection with new LST collection services is $10,500 for next year. Real estate tax salary is $15,000 for next year.
- Legal, $111,500–Included in this budgeted item may be legal fees for a civil action filed by former Township Manager Jim Sheldrake on the basis of his contract.
- Building and Grounds, $146,150–Building repairs and continued maintenance expenses have been budgeted for $35,000, while electricity costs have been budgeted for $63,000.
- Public Safety $2,739,765.14–Salaries in public safety have been budgeted for $1,284,151.06 for next year. In addition, a recommendation was received for a half-year patrol officer for the cost of $35,500, including salary, medical insurance, and social security. In addition, a new Global Connect alert system for the township will be installed for an anticipated cost of $5,000.
- Fire Protection/Ambulance, $1,099,420.40–The contract with Riddle Memorial Hospital for ambulance services has been budgeted for $668,120.40, an approximate $10,000 increase over last year. Fire Relief Fund/state aid has been projected for $135,000.
- Codes and Inspections, $298,070–Building code and inspection have a projected expense of $256,700. The cost for a sewage enforcement officer for next year is anticipated for $18,000, while the health inspector cost is anticipated for $8,000.
- Zoning and Planning, $174,200–The cost of the Act 537 Planning is anticipated for another $30,000 next year and engineering services are anticipated for a cost of $80,250.
- Public Works, $1,105,066–According to Newtown Fiscal Administrator Kathleen McGarry, salaries next year for Public Works is projected for $320,600 but will be balanced out with the Liquid Fuels Fund. Medical insurance is projected for $195,000. The cost for salt has been budgeted for $80,000, stree lights/electricity for $41,000, snow removal overtime for $16,000, diesel fuel for $44,000, and vehicle parts and repair for $30,000.
- Parks & Recreation, $321,149–Contribution to the joint Marple Newtown Recreation Commission is $55,849, while contribution for the Newtown Public Library is $195,000 for 2013. Contracted mowing services and leaf pickup is budgeted for $70,000 as well.
- Grants/Insurance/Debt, $1,159,839–Debt service for building additions ahs been projected to $256,000. In addition, retirement pension for police is budgeted for $256,860. The CDCA bond payment is also anticipated with the highest line item for $331,000. But, according to Supervisors Chairm Joe Catania, part of the Act 537 planning and bond payment to the CDCA may be partially reimbursed.
The supervisors will have until Dec. 27–where they will vote on the 2013 budget–to make any changes to the current preliminary budget.