Twp. proposes .1-mill tax hike

By on November 13, 2019

The Ephrata Township Board of Supervisors approved the township’s preliminary 2020 budget on Oct. 15 which includes a real estate tax increase of .1 mill.

If approved increasing the real estate tax from 1.17 mills to 1.27 mills, if adopted.

That .1 mill tax increase would result in an increase of $78,000 of revenue to the township and a property assessed at $200,000 would see an additional $20 in annual taxes for the property owner.

Township Manager Steve Sawyer said the board would hold an adoption vote Dec. 3 meeting.
Currently, the proposed budget is available to be read by the public during regular business hours of the township building.

Sawyer said the increase is required to offset costs related to the township’s DEP-required Pollution Reduction Plan, replacing the HVAC system in the township building, and an increase in the budget for police protection.

The township plans to complete their required pollution reduction project in 2020, Sawyer said, at an estimated cost of $400,000.

“We’re hoping to receive a $200,000 DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) grant to help fund the project,” Sawyer said.
The township’s project will be on 16 acres that the township acquired from GRH Development Inc., the developer of Autumn Hills, located along the Cocalico Creek.

Proposed improvements include creating floodplain benches and eliminating steep vertical banks that slough sediment into the creek after storms.

The in-stream structures are expected to reduce excessive erosion and sedimentation while providing areas for fish habitat.

The project will also include planting the 100-year floodplain on the Autumn Hills side of the creek with a riparian buffer of native grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees.

The proposed improvements are expected to reduce the negative impact that stormwater runoff has on local water quality.

The project will also include an extension of the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail through the 16-acre parcel.

Regarding the municipal building’s HVAC system, Sawyer said it is 28 years old and in poor condition. The cost to replace the system will be approximately $141,000.

Police costs in 2020 will be $1,849,786, which is $75,000 over the 2019 costs.

Total general fund anticipated receipts equal $3,469,300.
Real estate tax receipts are projected to be $1,000,000; earned income tax at $1,250,000; local service tax receipts at $207,000; and real estate transfer taxes of $205,000.

Total anticipated tax receipts are projected to be $2,677,000.
Receipts from charges for services, including zoning, subdivision, land development, and building permit fees total $422,500.

Total general fund expenditures are expected to be $3,468,316, with law enforcement services representing 53.3 percent of the projected expenditures.
The township contracts law enforcement services from Ephrata Borough.

The budget also includes the township’s portion of the cost of a school resource officer for 2020 and a contribution to the Lancaster County Drug Task Force.
Anticipated expenditures for the highway department total $958,000. This includes liquid fuels funds used for the proposed road projects for the coming year, as well as road department salaries, snow removal, traffic signal costs, and fuel and equipment costs.

Road projects for 2020 include leveling and resurfacing Glenwood Drive and seal coating Royer Road and Brubaker Road.

The township’s contribution to the fire companies and ambulance service is $122,500, which includes funds received from the State Firemen’s Relief Association, for about $60,000.

The budget also includes a contribution to the Ephrata Public Library of $36,500 and a contribution to the Ephrata Recreation Center of $5,400 for the Youth Summer Program.

Marylouise Sholly is a freelance feature writer for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your comments and questions at weezsholly@verizon.net. 

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