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Concerns over Gas Tax Reduction Expressed in Washington Twp.
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner, Correspondent
2022-06-29

            Recently, there has been discussion in the media of a temporary reduction in the gasoline tax in Pennsylvania.  On Thursday night at the Washington Township board of supervisors meeting, Chairman Dave Moyer explained a reduction in the gas tax will hurt local municipalities and, by extension, taxpayers.

            The gasoline tax funds liquid fuel allocations that municipalities receive from the state.  According to Moyer liquid fuel allocations are the only funding townships and boroughs receive from the state.  Municipalities use liquid fuel monies to purchase equipment, blacktop local roads, and buy salt for roads in the winter.  He explained if liquid fuel allocations were reduced because the gas tax was reduced, municipalities would be forced to increase taxes to make up the difference. 

Moyer urged township residents to contact their state representatives and state senator to urge no reduction in the gas tax. "Ultimately, it will hurt the taxpayers," he said.

            In other matters, a resident of Bally Springs development, Steve Markley, requested the township act on the excessive speeding that occurs along County Line Road. Speeding is an ongoing issue along the road. Markley explained that County Line Road is posted at 35 mph, but vehicles are speeding up to 75 mph.

            County Line Road is primarily a residential street with many children living nearby.  The board of supervisors explained that to take action against the speeding, a traffic study must be performed.  The supervisors intend to use a traffic and speed monitoring device for two weeks on one side of County Line Road. Two weeks later the opposite side of the road will be monitored. 

            Supervisor Tom Powanda mentioned a road he traveled recently that used the traffic-calming device of speed bumps every few feet. Powanda suggested that once the traffic study is completed, it might be possible to use speed bumps along County Line Road. 

Moyer assured the resident the township is actively working on the problem.

            Township Engineer John Weber, of LTL Consultants, informed the supervisors the full depth reclamation of Wilt and Passmore roads is "ready to go" once the township road crew have finished the prep work on the road.

            With the approval of the Berks County Planning Commission and the Washington Township Agricultural Advisory Council, the board of supervisors accepted a 16-acre property located at 2213 Old Route 100 into its agricultural security district. 

The agricultural district is based on a state law that protects agricultural lands from nuisance complaints from neighbors.  In addition, it protects the property from governmental overreach.  To qualify for the agricultural security district a property must be over 10 acres and be suitable for agriculture.

            For the time being, the township will continue with its recycling contract with Cuggles Recycling on a month-to-month basis.  However, the township is actively pursuing another recycling company that will recycle glass. 

At the request of the public works department, the township will remove the recycling containers from the park system.  The trash containers will remain.  Frequently, trash was combined with the recycling containers at the parks, which made it difficult to separate them.

            Sometime in July the township intends to paint the basketball court at a cost of $7,678.  The township will provide the labor for the project. The basketball court will be closed for approximately one week while it is being painted.

            Washington Township will renew its contract with Comcast.  It is a 10-year agreement with a 5 percent revenue returned to the township.  Moyer explained Washington Township does not have enough population for another cable company to service the township.

 Township Solicitor Joan London noted the contract is "non-exclusive."  At a future time it might be possible to acquire a contract with a different provider.  However, London cautioned the contract would have to be renegotiated.

            The all-volunteer Eastern Berks County Fire Department fundraising drive continues.  The fire company receives 25 percent of its revenue from fundraising.  Moyer urged residents to donate to the fire company.

"The fire company members spend $5 or more for gas just like township residents," he said. "The volunteers spend their own money to assist the township."

On August 20, the fire company will hold a chicken barbecue at the Bally fire station.

            Moyer urged residents to enjoy the Fourth of July, but to be cautious with fireworks.  Township ordinances do not permit fireworks within a 150-foot radius of any occupied building.

            The next supervisors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m.


 

 

 

 

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