No tax increase in proposed East Goshen budget

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
(East Goshen Township)

(East Goshen Township)

EAST GOSHEN — Just as last year and the year before, East Goshen Township’s 2016 proposed budget does not feature a tax increase. If passed, this will be the 13th consecutive year the township has not increased taxes.

The budget plans to have just over $10 million in revenue, with a slightly higher number in expenses, leaving a deficit of $88,036 which will be paid from the existing unreserved general fund balance.

“There are some pieces of information we are still waiting to get,” said Jon Altshul, chief financial officer for East Goshen Township. “This could fluctuate, but an important point to make is that the Second Class Township Code provides some flexibility for us to make amendments to the budget after advertising. I don’t think there’s any way we’ll have to re-advertise the budget in the future.”

…[Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

The two areas which make up 75 percent of the township’s expenses — emergency services and public works — could see a slight change in the 2016 budget if approved as is.

Emergency services, with a net 2015 year-end projection of $4.025 million, are expected to increase by about $68,000 to $4.093 million.

The increase is due to the hiring of three additional officers, the purchase of an additional patrol vehicle and more.

“Among the unknowns we still have on the budget are how we’re going to allocate PPUs with our partners in Westtown with police,” Altshul said. “We’re going with what we have.”

The public works fund is proposed to be reduced roughly $127,000 from the 2015 year-end projection, however, that doesn’t mean work won’t be done in the township.

There will be a $48,000 increase for roads due to the need for more curb repair.

Since early forecasts predict El Niño to bring warmer weather and therefore more rain than snow this winter, the budget for snow removal won’t change from the 2015 adopted budget.

“No one can predict snow at this time of the year,” Altshul said. “(El Niño) could bode well for our snow budget, which has been hit pretty hard the last couple of years.”

For non-core revenues for the township, which includes the earned income tax, real estate property tax, local service tax and more, a noticeable drop is seen under the real estate transfer tax.

The 2015 year-end projection under that tax is at $965,000, but for next year, the proposed budget has it at $525,000.

“When you sell any real property anywhere in Pennsylvania, there is a transfer tax that is shared between the state, the county and the municipality,” Altshul said. “We had a bumper year this year because we had a number of commercial property sales, which are a much higher dollar value than regular homes.”

As for 2016, there are no foreseeable sales of that nature, causing the drop in amount.

The sinking fund, which the township uses to pay for any of its capital assets — assets valued over $5,000 and with a useful life of over one year — so that the township doesn’t incur debt to raise taxes.

The fund will see barely any changes from 2015, with a proposed decrease of just $27,000, will help with the Milltown and Hershey Mill dams and the East Boot Road bridge construction.

“Some of the numbers are just placeholders for now,” Altshul said. “And those are worst-case scenario placeholders. We can only improve from there.”

Also listed under the sinking fund will be the tennis court resurfacing, security cameras for the park and replacing the roof of the township building, which sustained some hail damage.

The budget will be available for inspection by the public before it’s voted on by the board of supervisors.

“The average real estate tax in East Goshen Township is about $250 per home,” said Senya Isayeff, East Goshen supervisor. “When you consider the services that a homeowner who pays $250 average gets in return with the police, the parks and the trails, this is a good place to live.”

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