4.8% Rise In Tax Is Expected

Posted: November 25, 1990

The real estate tax in Northampton Township most likely will rise 4.8 percent next year, township manager Bruce Townsend said last week.

The 1991 township budget will be unveiled at an 8 p.m. meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, officials said.

The board, at a work session Monday, said it expected to use a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to hammer out a fiscally conservative budget for 1991.

Going through the budget workbook line-by-line, Townsend presented a proposal that would result in a net increase in property taxes of 0.7 mills, a jump of 2.6 percent. The tax rate is now 26.9 mills.

But Townsend said later that it was more likely that the board would adopt a 1.3-mill increase, which would be a 4.8 percent increase. Some board members, he said, believe the smaller increase would cut finances too close.

A 1.3-mill increase would mean that the tax increase on a home valued at about $160,000 on today's market, with a typical assessed value of $8,000, would be about $10.

The proposed spending cuts were mostly in new equipment.

"I want to show you some big cuts I've proposed," Townsend said to the supervisors. "The police department has asked to replace six cars, whereas I have allowed for five."

He said he also proposed to eliminate a new dump truck and an oil storage tank proposed by department heads. He proposed to add money to the library's budget.

Townsend suggested that township employees receive a 5 percent pay increase. He proposed no increase for himself. Townsend earns $60,000 yearly. Despite Townsend's proposal, the supervisors recommended a raise of 3 percent, or $2,000.

The supervisors also discussed costs of leaf collection and a comprehensive traffic study. Supervisor Steven Benner had said at last week's meeting that the township should consider buying a leaf-truck.

Townsend said Monday that at least two trucks would have to be purchased to collect the leaves and that each truck would cost about $100,000.

"I'm sorry you ever brought it up," Townsend said to Benner after a lengthy discussion.

The supervisors also discussed the cost of a comprehensive traffic study. ''To bring an engineer in here to study the traffic in the township and tell us where the roads need improvement would cost us $50,000 to $100,000," Townsend said after the meeting.

The board also discussed the legal fees resulting from a lawsuit against the township Green Valley Associates, a development company that wants to build 518 moderate-price housing units. The supervisors said the suit could cost the township tens of thousands of dollars.

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