WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — The township hasn’t raised taxes since 1993 and next year’s proposed budget will be no different, despite the rising cost of fuel and an out-of-court settlement that reinstated two police officers to full-time status.

But an increase in taxes was avoided only by leaving one full-time road department position vacant and spending most of the money the township saved this year.

Lame duck Supervisor William Rosenberger warned residents that the township may have to raise taxes in upcoming years.

He said the current rate is 3.75 mills, which is the equivalent of $187.50 for a home with an assessed value of $50,000 or a little more than $15 a month for maintained roads, police protection and a volunteer fire department that receives $50,000 in donations from the township.

“It’s a pretty good bargain,” he said.

“Another mill would sure help things out to keep the budget balanced,” he said, mentioning the only other option is cutting services.

“For $15 a month, how could anyone complain?” agreed township resident David Kennedy.

But balancing this year’s proposed township budget involved drawing from $145,451 the township anticipates on saving by year’s end.

At least $50,000 of that revenue came from a state grant Republican state Rep. Teresa Forcier helped secure for the township after it sustained an estimated $150,000 in storm-related damage in 2004.

In drafting the 2006 budget, supervisors once again decided not to tap into the $2.2 million Capital Reserve Account established in 1999 from the sale of the West Mead Township Sewer Authority. They decided the money would be better used to collect interest and pay for future expenses.

Two of the major increasing costs for the township in the 2006 budget were fuel, with a $15,000 increase and about $25,000 in additional wages, plus benefits, for two police officers being reinstated to full-time status Jan. 1, 2006. Bob Grasso and Paul Haun had filed a federal lawsuit against former Chief William Gilmore and township supervisors after their hours were reduced at the end of 2004. Supervisors said the move was made to balance the 2005 budget, but the officers alleged they were being punished for reporting to their union alleged “ticket fixing” done by Gilmore.

Part of the cost of benefits is being absorbed by leaving full-time road employee Robert Heisey’s position open. He is leaving for another job.

Supervisor Walter Young said that the four remaining full-time employees in the road department are just going to try to pick up the slack.

“Let’s hope for a light winter,” said Young. The township also never restored one summer road laborer position that was cut to balance the 2005 budget.

Supervisors voted 3-0 to advertise the proposed budget. The adoption of the final 2006 budget will be considered Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

Eric Reinagel can be reached at 724-6370 ext. 283 or by e-mail at ereinagel@meadvilletribune.com

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you