East Cocalico Supervisors pass $5.29 million budget for 2013

By on December 26, 2012

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Balancing a budget gets harder and harder, was the message given by supervisors at their Dec. 19 meeting prior to unanimously passing the 2013 budget.

"We looked time and time again at what else we could cut from the already bare bones budget," Supervisor Chairman, Doug Mackley said. "I don’t like to see taxes go up. People are on fixed incomes and times are tough."

Belt tightening included no raises for the 12 non-uniformed employees, no police pension Cola for retired police officers, and deferral of big ticket maintenance items needed for the municipal building, which was built in 1988. Among items needed at the aging municipal building is a new HVAC system.

Last year there was less than one-tenth of a mill increase in taxes.

This year taxes will go from 1.7 mills to 2.05 mills. Taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 will go from $170 to $205.

For each of the four years previous to 2012, there was no tax increase.

The police pension fund requires large infusions of money to keep it solvent.

Citizen Dr. Ken McCrea, who attends most all municipal meetings said, "I’m surprised that’s all taxes went up in light of the pension deficit. The supervisors did a good job."

According to the East Cocalico Water and Sewer Authority Dec. 5 budget meeting minutes, water rates will remain the same for the first quarter of 2013.

Beginning in April, 2013, water rates will increase from $5.90 to $6.45 per thousand gallons.

The budget meeting did not address any increase for sewer rates.

Securing confirmation of water and sewer rates on Dec. 21 with the Water and Sewer Authority Office was not possible. The office manager said in an email that the Administrator was out of the office until after Christmas and it was preferred that the Administrator confirm that information.

No additional information from the Authority’s regular Dec. 13 Water and Sewer Authority meeting was available. Minutes from the meeting will be posted following approval at the Authority’s Jan. 10, 2013 meeting.

Supervisors transferred $122,000 of unencumbered budget money in the 2012 budget to the 2013 budget in order to balance the 2013 budget and keep the tax increase down.

Street light taxes remain at $1.04 per frontage foot for those citizens who have street lights provided by the township.

Community pool expenses after a successful summer season left the township with a smaller deficit than the previous year – fifty plus thousand in the red as opposed to sixty plus thousand at the end of the 2011 season. It is not unusual for community swimming pools, often an amenity expected by residents, to operate at a loss.

On a positive note, supervisors publicly thanked, and will send a written thank-you letter to June Kinback, who suggested the acquisition of a cardboard dumpster.

The dumpster, delivered Oct. 5, 2011, gets filled about once a month. East Cocalico has recycled over 12 tons of cardboard and more than 8 tons of magazines.

Zoning Officer, Tony Luongo, reported that another new home permit was issued.

"That makes 12 new houses this year. Last year there were five. Things are slowly looking up," said Luongo.

Supervisors felt that although the year has been challenging, overall it’s been a good year.

An executive session for personnel and matters concerning collective bargaining was held prior to adjournment. The 22 member police force is in negotiations for a new contract. The current contract expires Dec. 31, 2012.

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