locally owned since 1854

Middletown borough budget tentatively includes property tax increase, first since 2008

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/3/17

Middletown Borough Council is poised to tentatively adopt a 2018 general fund budget on Monday, Nov. 6, that would increase the borough property tax by one-half of one mill.

This would be the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Middletown borough budget tentatively includes property tax increase, first since 2008

Posted

Middletown Borough Council is poised to tentatively adopt a 2018 general fund budget on Monday, Nov. 6, that would increase the borough property tax by one-half of one mill.

This would be the first borough property tax increase since 2008.

For residents who want to attend Monday’s meeting, it starts at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, second floor, Borough Hall.

A 0.5 mill hike would increase by half a percent the tax bill on assessed property in the borough. For example, it would increase by $50 the tax bill for someone with property in the borough assessed at $100,000, or by $100 on property assessed at $200,000.

Council toward the end of a three-hour budget workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 1, reached consensus on a proposed 2018 budget that would cut in half requests for new personnel that had been sought by department heads.

For example, the option backed by council would add to the police department one new full-time officer and one new part-time officer. The budget option would also allow for promoting one officer to sergeant in 2018.

This would be in addition to the one new full-time position that council approved for the police department in the 2017 budget, but has yet to fill.

The department for 2018 had requested two new full-time officers, three new part-time officers and one sergeant, according to the first draft budget proposal that was presented to council.

Council’s preferred option also reduces from full to part-time a new position that was sought by public works. The promotion of an existing public works employee would stay, as well as a new full-time position to be split between the codes and electric departments.

Council by cutting in half the new positions sought to  reduce the projected general fund deficit from approximately $442,000 to $270,885.

Council had discussed in previous budget workshops using part or all of a $428,360 surplus in the electric fund to plug the general fund deficit.

Council President Damon Suglia proposed a 1 mill tax increase that would bring in just more than $248,000. A 1 mill increase would add $100 to the tax bill of a borough property owner assessed at $100,000.

Suglia objected to using any of the electric fund surplus to cover the general fund deficit. The surplus should be used to help pay for capital improvement projects, including those needed by the electric department, Suglia said.

Councilor Ben Kapenstein countered with a proposed 0.5 mill tax increase, which would bring in $124,000, and using $146,000 of the electric fund surplus to cover the remaining general fund deficit.

This would leave $281,000 in the electric fund surplus in 2018 to be used to help fund capital improvement projects being recommended by Public Works Director Greg Wilsbach, Kapenstein said. Councilor Dawn Knull agreed with Kapenstein’s proposal.

Kapenstein in making his case for a smaller increase noted that taxes had not gone up since 2008.

Councilor Ian Reddinger initially agreed with Suglia’s call for a 1-mill tax increase, but in the end came around to Kapenstein’s proposal for a half-mill increase.

Councilors Ann Einhorn, Diana McGlone, and Robert Reid all said they would oppose any tax increase.

McGlone pushed for using all of the electric fund surplus to cover the general fund deficit. She proposed drawing $1 million from cash reserves of the electric fund and the general fund to cover capital improvement projects, and also favored increasing by $5,000 council’s proposed allocation of $148,800 to the fire department for 2018.

 

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment