Washington Township Supervisors OK property tax increase

December 17, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors on Monday approved a property tax increase some board members say will better prepare the municipality for the future.

The 2-mill increase, which supports $4.5 million in general fund spending, will mean about a $40 increase for the average tax parcel, township officials said.

A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 assessed property value. Each mill generates about $129,000 in revenue for the township, which will now have an overall tax rate of 6.4 mills.

The potential for a tax increase created tense moments for the five-member board of supervisors Monday.

“I think there was work to do and no one wanted to do it,” Supervisor Stephen Kulla said, saying he thought cuts could be made.

Others said the tax increase was necessary to protect the municipality’s carryover funds and help it combat rising costs associated with employee benefits.

“I’d rather do the increase now than be faced with a much larger one in the future,” Supervisor Dick McCracken said. “You can’t cut workers’ comp, health insurance and those types of things, and no one wants to let personnel go.”

Jeff Geesaman, chairman of the supervisors, said he wants the township to continue finding “new ways” to do business, particularly identifying efficiencies at the recycling center.

“I still feel it’s important to do the 2 mills now and hopefully not have to do (another tax increase) for quite a while,” he said.

The supervisors passed the 2013 spending plan on a 3-2 vote, with Geesaman, McCracken and Bill Conrad voting in favor, and Kulla and Elaine Gladhill voting against the budget as presented.

Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said slumping revenues contributed to the budget woes.

“Year 2012 has been pretty much a financial disaster for us,” he said.

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