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Supervisors Project 4.5% Tax Increase For 2013

Newtown Township's 2013 preliminary budget was presented at a budget meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

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.

JC December 07, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Outrageous! The average raise....if you have a job.... is about 1%. 4.5% is ridiculous. This is in a township that hasn't had their roads repaved in over 30 years, no street lights on many side roads etc. etc. Where is our money going?
N.S. Resident December 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
4.5% is not bad, compared to other townships in Delaware County. Marple is talking about a 7% hike, and Haverford is looking at 4.5% as well. We still have one of the lowest milage rates in the county. I wish we had a little more to show for it though. Haverford has a fancy new recreation center and parks/trails for residents. I'd love to see some township oney spent on things like trails, or a better rec center for the kids. I went into the recently partially remodeled Gauntlett Center and it really needs some work. It's still pretty dumpy. I haven't seen the inside of he remodeled high school, but I hope it fared better than the Gauntlett Center.
Patti Wilson December 07, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Township Supervisors could vote for a 0% tax increase with just two expenses removed from the preliminary budget. One, it to have Nawn, Lambert and Wood agree to pay for their healthcare benefits. That cost is $77,000. The second item which is causing the increased taxes was the hire of a Public Works Director. They elected to spend over $100,000 between salary and benefits to hire an employee that did not meet the advertised educational requirements. He studied philosophy at St. Charles Seminary and worked for the Archdiocese for years. No prior municipal experience. The tax increase will raise about $181,000. Take these items away--no tax increase!
Anthony Colangelo December 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
You are right JC. I've been trying to get our road repaved for the past two years....I sent pictures and numerous emails to the township manager...I don't even get a reply anymore. I don't mind paying the 4.5% if we had something to show for it. Not sure where this money is going, but it isn't for improvements, that's for sure.
t-bone December 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I agree. My home budget would never be managed this way. Of course they found the extra money to give the township manager a while back ago. While they claim that the settlement with the police chief will not affect the taxpayers as it was paid through the insurance company, I'm sure you and I will ultimately pay for that through higher premiums also.
t-bone December 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I understand your comparison, but the fact that they need an extra 4.5% indicates that the entire budget process was not thought out properly. If I want to take my family to Disneyworld, but do not have the money, I can not go to my boss and ask for an extra $5,000 in salary. I have to either cut back in another area, or not go. In looking at this preliminary budget, I see many areas that can either be cut totally or scaled back before I would raise taxes. We the taxpayers are just being used as a backstop to support what is in my opinion financial ineptitude.
Laurie December 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I agree with t-bone. I am sick and tired of our taxes increasing every year with nothing to show for it!
Laurie December 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I agree with everything you said, Patti. The supervisors should pay for their own health insurance like the rest of us working people have to do. And yes, the taxpayers will be paying for the increase in insurance due to the claim.
Laurie December 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
And the township is getting a huge payment from Toll Brothers to put 440 new homes on the old DuPont estate.
Anthony Colangelo December 07, 2012 at 04:00 PM
"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." It must be nice luxury to have the ability to raise taxes because they want a reserve. For what??? So they can increase their benefits and perks even more? With the new development, they will undoubtedly have more revenue. Why raise taxes now? There is no need to. This budget has so many holes in it!
John McDevitt December 07, 2012 at 04:18 PM
The gym and kid stop were never part of the renovation. We are a school district and it applied to the administartion offices only. With that being said, we invested over $700,000 in heat and lighting in the gym and also plan to replace windows, paint and strip the gym floor. I can not think of a school district who has done more for recreational use. You need to see the high school and middle school gyms.
John McDevitt December 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Patti: As a school board member these jobs can simply be awful at times. I can tell you over the past three years my school board position has cost me at least the annual cost of one's benefits each and every year in income to my business. Then, you have to look at the time you put in away from your family. I am up in a year and can't run for the hills fast enough. The township job is just as thankless in my opinion. Our problem is with the reckless spending of the federal government and not the extra $10 or $15 on average we will pay for what I consider a total volunteer job without the benefit. I will sacrifice one less pizza a year to attract good people. Sorry, I respectfully disagree with you on this one anyway. John
L. Ferguson December 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
NOTHING SURPRISING HERE. I WAS JUST WAITING TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH THE TAXES WERE GOING UP......BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS GO UP IN THIS TOWNSHIP. YOU WOULD THINK 'TRIMMING' ALL BUDGETS WOULD BE THE ORDER OF THE DAY....BUT NOOOO...IN THIS ECONOMY THIS IS JUST ANOTHER SLAP IN THE FACE OF TAXPAYERS!
Maryanne December 08, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Patti Wilson, I totally agree with you.
Maryanne December 08, 2012 at 02:33 AM
It's time to cut expenses, NOT INCREASE THEM! Economy is bad, residents are cutting back on their own person expenses so, Newtown Township you need to do the same!
Michelle December 08, 2012 at 11:47 AM
PATTI , totally agree with you! Mcdevitt. You must be so proud that a new gym impresses you. The federal government? Lets blame everything on Obama. If that's what makes you feel better about the ineptness of local government! Wood - attorney FREE HEALTH INSURANCE Nawn. - unemployed traffic engineer FREE LAMBERT- Periodontist. FREE Catania. - Attorney. Free ( township and now COUNTY- thanks to mike gillin and BPG attorney and county GOP boss Andy Reilly) Houldin - Free. (Township and county -simultaneously) A well know local activist Reggie siberski has been arguing with township supervisors for years over this Health insurance issue to no avail! A sense of entitlement? A sense of being untouchable? A sense of pompousness? Does anyone above make any sense? For now!
John McDevitt December 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Michelle: My comment concerning the gym floor was in regards to another post questioning the communitty center renovation and nothing to do with Newtown Township. I correctly advised that the renovation never included the gym but we made great progreess elsewhere for which I am very proud. I like and respect Patti Wilson and I don't care to join your liberal post. Nice to see blame Obama in the same sentence though and my concerns are about the future and that is why I joined the school board. If you become a supervisor that would reduce the problem by 33% which is a great start, John

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