East Cocalico adopts 2012 budget

By on December 28, 2011

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

East Cocalico Township supervisors quickly adopted their 2012 budget at their Dec. 21 meeting, having done the hard number crunching at their workshop meeting on Dec. 15.

At the workshop session, supervisors voted (2-1, with Noelle Fortna dissenting) to increase the real estate tax from 1.625 to 1.7 mills. The purpose for the 4.6 percent increase is, over more than a one-year period, to reverse the shrinking general fund reserve.

"The proposed tax increase will generate about $50,000 in additional revenue," said East Cocalico Township Manager Mark Hiester in e-mail communication. "Such an increase of .075 mills equals $7.50 of additional tax on a $100,000 property."

"The general fund," Hiester explained, "must maintain at least $500,000 per month to cover payroll and operating expenses."

Currently the general fund borrowed $275,000 from the capital reserve fund and has not been able to pay it back. Supervisors passed a resolution for a loan extension into 2012 with repayment of the $275,000 no later than April. This is when tax monies start to come in to the township.

The Capital Reserve Fund for East Cocalico holds monies allocated for specific budget line items such as: future road projects, traffic signals, police reserves, fire emergency reserve, highway equipment, highway radios, pool emergency reserves and other items. Currently at a little over $1 million, it doesn’t take long to make a dent in this account with a major road project or funding to assist replacement of old fire equipment.

Supervisors began their meeting with public recognition for bravery and service given by firemen and police officers at the recent, tragic Stevens house fire where three adults lost their lives.

"We (supervisors and other township staff) walked through that house," East Cocalico Supervisor Chairman Doug Mackley said. "To think about having to enter that house on a pitch black night with black smoke pouring out is incomprehensible. We are extremely indebted to these policemen present and the many firefighters for risking their lives on behalf of us. And, the firefighters do it for no compensation. They’re all volunteers."

East Cocalico Police Officers recognized at the meeting included: Brian Dilliplaine, Derrick Kepley, Josh Sola and Chris Progin.

In other business:

? Zoning officer Tony Luongo reported 25 new applications. There were no new single family residence applications this month.

? The December zoning hearing board has two decisions pending. First, the Sunoco Inc. (owner) at 1404 N. Reading Road wishes to convert his sign to an LED display. Second, owners of 320 Napierville Road are seeking to replace an existing driveway bridge within the flood way, providing access to their farm/residence.

? At the January zoning hearing board, Kerry Kegerise (owner of Country Lane Flowers), 50 Weaver Road, is seeking an exception to operate his floral business at his residence. The property is zoned (R) Rural Residential.

? Also at the January zoning hearing board, Mr./Mrs. David Hurst, 403 Reinholds Road, are seeking an exception to operate a small siding and window business at their residence. The property is zoned Conservation.

? Supervisors approved a time extension for W.J. Crossroads until Feb. 7.

? Supervisors granted conditional approval to Stoney Pointe’s Phase 2 Final Plan and the Phase 1 Revised Final Plan.

? Communication from PennDOT indicates that work on the bridge over Cocalico Creek at Route 272 is slated to begin Jan. 16. One- lane traffic will be the norm until the work is finished, about April 30, 2013.

? Supervisors learned that the cardboard dumpster was filled in two months with six tons of corrugated cardboard. A new, empty dumpster is now in place. The woody waste site is working well; the gate is locked at the close of normal business hours.

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