East Greenville Borough Council voted last week to approve a 2017 budget with a 0.5 tax millage increase. Municipal officials unanimously overrode a mayoral veto against an ordinance that increased the rate to 6.75 mills.
The tax hike is expected to generate an additional $52,748, according to Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Kachmar. She said the average property owner in the borough will pay an additional $47.50 in taxes.
According to Council member Marita Thomson, the additional tax money will go towards the borough's contribution to the Upper Perk Police District.
East Greenville has committed to spending $643,577 to cover its portion of the department for all of next year, a $31,000 increase over its 2016 contribution.
A plan to create a police department in the municipality is on hold, according to acting Council President Tracey Hunsinger.
She said after the meeting that East Greenville officials are hopeful they can resolve their differences with Pennsburg and remain as a part of the Upper Perk Police Commission.
"We're very optimistic about the mediation process," Hunsinger said.
Hunsinger and Robert McCluskie voted against the budget, which totals $1.664 million on project expenses and requires a transfer of approximately $100,000 from savings.
Hunsinger said she didn't feel comfortable approving a budget with a sizeable transfer from savings for the second straight year. Last December, municipal officials approved a $92,000 transfer from savings to balance the 2016 budget.
She warned that residents could be facing a significant tax increase in 2018 due to the consecutive transfers and dwindling revenue.
"Next year, we won't have the money to make a transfer like this unless something significantly changes," Hunsinger said.
Mayor Ryan Sloyer utilized his veto after council unanimously approved an ordinance to raise the tax millage.
But council responded with a unanimous vote – including Leon Steinert, who participated on a cell phone – to override the veto.
"We need to be careful about how much we tax," Sloyer said after the vote. "All the taxes will drive people out of here. Contrary to what people believe, this is not a rich borough."