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Property Taxes to be Reduced in Washington Twp.
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner, Correspondent
2023-11-21

            Washington Township Board of Supervisors agreed to advertise its 2024 budget of $4.2 million dollars on Thursday night.  The property tax millage will be reduced by .25 mills from 2.7 to 2.45 mills, a reduction of 10%.  The township sewer fee will be reduced by $10 from $300 to $290 per quarter. 

Vice Chairman Dave Moyer reminded property owners that, in this day and age when everything is going up, "You are getting a reduction in taxes."

            The board of supervisors has not raised taxes since 2009.  The township sewer debt of $6.2 million dollars is expected to be paid off by 2032.  For several years in a row the township has consistently reduced sewer fees for ratepayers.  It is a remarkable achievement for the township when several years ago the sewer debt was $12 million dollars and sewer fees were the highest in the state.  To prevent a default of its sewer authority, the Washington Township Municipal Authority (WTMA), the board of supervisors, whose township bond rating was excellent, disbanded the WTMA, restructured the sewer debt, and took over the management of the sewer plant.

            In another matter, the attorney for Camp Camino, Bernadette Kearney, Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell, & Lupin, requested conditional preliminary plan approval from the board of supervisors.  The supervisors decided to delay their approval, despite the planning commission approval, until it is decided what kind of sewer service will be utilized for the camp planned for disabled children.

            The supervisors requested the camp at least study a gravity flow sewer plan. Kearney noted a low-pressure system would have less inflow and infiltration (I&I) and is less costly for the seven neighboring properties that must connect to the sewer system.  A property within 150 feet of sewer service is mandated to connect to sewer. 

            Additionally, Kearney argued there is less disturbance to the land in the area.  If a gravity flow sewer system were constructed, Camp Camino must traverse land it does not own to get to the sewer plant.  However, a low-pressure system would require grinder pumps that can malfunction.  Replacement of a grinder pump for a property is inconvenient and quite expensive. 

Camp Camino agreed to enter into a perpetual maintenance agreement with the township that is backed by a performance bond. 

The supervisors were hesitant to approve the conditional preliminary plan for Camp Camino until a sewer design is agreed upon. 

            Township Sewer Engineer Tom Unger, P.E., Systems Design Engineering, explained the sewer on the plan was not complete and not all questions were answered by the applicant. 

Roger Lehman, All County Engineering, a representative of Camp Camino, promised to present a designed sewer plan within days to the township sewer engineer. 

Camp Camino hopes to acquire conditional preliminary plan approval at the board of supervisors meeting on Thursday, December 21.  The entire Camp Camino property is approximately 163 acres. 

The site for the camp is approximately 37 acres.  It will encompass a gymnatorium, splash pool, basketball court, bunk houses, and welcome center to enable disabled children to have a happy summer camp experience.

            In a related matter, the intergovernmental agreement between Bally and Washington Township, once approved, will enable a portion of the Camp Camino property, which eventually will be subdivided into approximately 37 lots, to connect to sewer in Bally Borough.  The potential subdivision, approximately 40 acres, will be located along Kutztown Road. The 40-acre parcel is not within the township's sewer service area.  However, the township has identified the area through Act 537 as a section of the township that should be served by sewer. 

Washington Township, years ago, purchased sewer connections with Bally sewer service.  For years, Bally was under a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) so it could not provide Washington Township with sewer.  Recently, the DEP agreed to lift the CAP on Bally's sewer plant.  Soon, Washington Township will be able to utilize some of Bally's sewer capacity that the township purchased years ago.

            In other sewer news, a review of the Edison Walk subdivision sewer lift station and sewer lines noted the system was in good shape.  A replacement pump for the sewer system was purchased.  The old pump will be utilized as a backup.  Concrete was replaced throughout the development.  Sections of curb and sidewalk were repaired.  It is expected paving will commence next week.


 

 

 

 

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