Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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Tax Increases Considered for Pennsburg in 2018
2017-10-11

            With the beginning of deliberations over next year's budget looming, council President Kris Kirkwood did not rule out the possibility of a tax millage increase.

            Based on the preliminary budget, "and on all the things council is leaning towards," the members "will probably have to approve some kind of a tax increase," Kirkwood said October 5. "I believe that any increase we might approve would be minimal."

            According to Kirkwood, municipal officials will make that determination after a thorough examination of the borough's projected expenses and revenue for 2018. That process is scheduled to kick off during council's October 17 workshop meeting.

             "At this point I think raising taxes should only be done when it is absolutely necessary," he said during a phone interview. "I want to weight out all the options, and see where we are…I don't like raising taxes, because I would have to pay, as well."

            Funding the Upper Perk Police Department could be a central topic of the conversation. According to Kirkwood, the department accounts for a little more than 50 percent of the borough's projected expenses in 2018.  He said council may have to allocate addition money to cover that cost.

            "It depends on how we decide how to fund it," Kirkwood said. "We may have to delay certain other things. But we'll wait and see until we work through the budget."

            During the October 3 meeting, Member Diane Stevens suggested increasing the annual Occupational Privilege Tax from $10 to $52. She also proposed enhancing the portion of money the borough receives from Earned Income Taxes, paid by employees working in the borough. Currently, Pennsburg shares the funds with the Upper Perkiomen School District generated by the 1 percent tax. Stevens said the municipality could generate an additional $418,000 by raising that rate to 1.5 percent.

            Solicitor Chuck Garner warned council that a change in the tax rates may require notice requirements that could delay their implementation on January 1, 2018. He suggested that the members "think about those requirements" as they relate to next year's budget.  

            Kirkwood said he would only support additional tax hikes after considering all other options.

            As far as Pennsburg's action for a declaratory judgement against East Greenville relating its decision to withdraw from the Upper Perk Police Commission, Kirkwood says the budget deliberations won't include any potential financial awards.

            "I don't want to bank on that money," he said. "We don't know for certain if we're going to be getting it."


 

 

 

 

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