No increases in taxes, rates planned for ’13 Borough council will vote on budget in December

By on November 20, 2012

By: ANDY FASNACHT Review Editor afasnacht.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Ephrata Borough Manager Bob Thompson reported last week that a draft budget, delivered to council earlier this month, does not include a tax increase for 2013.

He also announced that there will be no increases in electric, water, sewer, refuse or recycling rates.

"The borough has managed to hold costs to a minimum at a time when revenues are stagnate in order to benefit our customers during these difficult economic times," Thompson said.

As indicated in last week’s Review, the proposed General Fund budget expenses do exceed revenues by about $35,000. However, as stated in that article, an amended policy to increase the transfer from the Electric Fund to the General fund from 7.75 percent to 10 percent may be used to balance this discrepancy. The amendment gives the borough the flexibility it needs to address budget issues as they arise. The actual amount transferred in 2012 was $1.414 million.

Thompson pointed out that the amount for 2013 has not yet been determined, however he said he expects that range will be between that 7.75 and 10 percent range. In actual dollars, that would translate to $1.379 to $1.78 million.

After council received some critical feedback and a request from a visitor last week to delay the policy change, Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee Vic Richard commented on the action.

"This has been at 7.75 percent for a while," said Richard. "It was 10 percent but was reduced. However, because we have seen a bit of a reduction in electric sales, this move allows us to keep pace and the ability to change things."

Richard pointed out that this is a 10 percent maximum and not an ordained amount for the 2013 budget period.

Council member George DiIlio agreed.

"This simply gives us the flexibility we need," said DiIlio. "Just because the policy is set at 10 percent does not mean we will use 10 percent."

With the exception of Anthony Kilkuskie, who was absent at last Monday night’s meeting, the measure passed unanimously.

Though it indeed has no proposed tax increases, the draft budget does not currently include increased funding requests from outside organizations. Thompson said this will be discussed at the November committee meetings, and increases could add to the deficit in the General Fund.

The proposed budget has been advertised and is available for the general public to stop in and review at borough hall. Following discussions at the committee level, adoption of the budget is set for the Dec. 10 voting session. More BOROUGH, page A6

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