Based upon recently released census figures, Pennsylvania will lose one congressional seat in the next two years. Although the state population increased, [Read more...]
The Lower Merion Township board of commissioners adopted a 2011 budget that includes a 10.8 percent increase in the township real estate tax. This translates to a real estate tax increase of $116 for the median home in the township with a property assessment of $283,000, for a total township real estate tax bill of $1,186. In order to reduce the projected real estate tax increase, commissioners agreed to draw down the general fund balance from 17 percent to 16 percent. The budget is available to view at www.lowermerion.org.
Lower Merion became the 18th Pennsylvania municipality to ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or expression with the unanimous adoption of an anti-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance also creates a Human Relations Commission to handle and investigate complaints. The ordinance provides new protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in the areas of employment, public accommodation and housing. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects individuals from discrimination based upon race, religion, sex, age and disability, but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Adoption of local anti-discrimination ordinances is not precluded by state law.
Edgmont Supervisors approved the 2011 budget, which calls for a tax increase equating to about $15 annually for the average assessment. The total tax rate is .7202 mills, or approximately $212 for a home assessed at $295,000. Township Manager Samantha Reiner said the need for a modest tax increase resulted, for the most part, from loss of revenue due to lack of housing starts, reduction of transfer taxes and the number of successful tax appeals lowering the overall assessment valuation for the township.
Aston Commissioners adopted a 2011 millage rate of 4.00 mills, reflecting an increase of .35 mills more than the 2010 budget. A homeowner with a residence assessed at $200,000 will pay $800 in real-estate taxes in 2011; an increase of $70 over last year. The service fee will remain the same at $220 per single-family unit, which represents the fee paid for weekly trash removal, as well as the dumping fee assessed by the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority.
The Nether Providence Board voted in favor of a fiscal plan that will boost taxes by 4.97 percent, to 4.09 mills. Commissioner Michael Dougherty, who chairs the Finance and Administration Committee, said the change will translate into a $44 township tax increase for a property assessed at $200,000. The township’s annual sewer rate for 2011 will remain unchanged, at $289 per household. Township Manager Gary Cummings said the generally healthy state of Nether Providence’s sewer accounts made it possible to avoid a rate increase. That includes a sewer reserve fund made more robust by the one-time payment of $206,000 from Upper Providence, Edgmont and Newtown for the right to join the Delaware County Authority.
West Goshen Township supervisors approved a 2011 budget Wednesday that includes a $1.4 million shortfall that officials will cover using a reserve fund. Supervisors agreed unanimously to approve the budget, which forecasts $12.4 million in revenues and $13.8 million in expenditures. The board said it was able to avoid a tax increase because of a surplus of nearly $8 million in reserves. The budget includes a 3 percent raise for all township employees, which members of the public challenged.
Chester County commissioners adopted a 2011 budget Tuesday that calls for no county property tax increase, but makes cuts in spending at Pocopson Home, reduces the amount of planned borrowing for the county’s open space preservation program, and forgoes staff salary increases for the second year in a row. County commissioners said they were pleased to be able to deliver a budget with no increase in taxes, but warned that the budget outlook at the state and federal level will pose financial challenges for the county in 2011, if those governments cut spending that flows to the county. The county divides its full tax millage of 3.965 into four slices. In 2011, the taxes dedicated to the parks fund will stay the same at .156 mills, and the library taxes will also remain level at .190 mills. The general funds taxes will shrink to 2.730 mills from 2.853 in 2010. The amount dedicated to debt service – the amount of interest principal and interest paid on county bond issues – will increase to .889 from .766. A mill in taxes equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The county has said that a taxpayer with a property assessed at $299,657, the median market value in the county, will pay $658 in county property taxes.
The 2011 fiscal year will mark the 25th consecutive year the township has gone without an increase in its real estate tax rate. Real estate taxes in the township have been hit hard during the current economic downturn. According to Township Manager Doug Hanley, in the three years prior to 2010, the township collected an average of $638,000 per year in real estate tax revenue. For 2010 the township anticipated collecting $500,000. Revenues and expenditures are being budgeted at lower amounts in 2011 than in 2010. The biggest loss in revenues can be attributed to a decrease in Act 511 taxes, which are estimated to bring in about $150,000 less in 2011. Act 511 taxes include earned-income taxes and local services taxes. The township is increasing sanitation fees by $2 per quarter for each of the sanitation facilities — at Eagleview and Downingtown.
Upper Uwchlan Township supervisors approved a budget that includes a cushion of more than $400,000. The township will not increase taxes once again. The last time taxes were increased was 2006. The township’s total budgeted expenditures for 2011 are $5.4 million, which is nearly $300,000 less than what was budgeted for 2010. Anticipated revenues for 2011 are marginally more than what the township budgeted in 2010. According to the budget, the township anticipates $300,000 more in earned income taxes than it budgeted in 2010. However, the township also expects to receive about $300,000 less in engineering fees. The decrease in engineering fees can be accredited to the expected decline in development.