This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST GOSHEN — No changes are coming to West Goshen Township as the 2016 preliminary budget features no raises in taxes or fees.
If passed as is, this will be the sixth consecutive year the township will not raise taxes.
“There is no proposed general fund property tax increase for 2016,” said Casey LaLonde, township manager. “The property tax remains stable at 2 mills. There are no proposed sewer or trash fee increases for 2016.”
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The quarterly sewer bill will remain at $65 and the quarterly trash bill will remain at $85.
For some time, West Goshen’s deficit was increasing until the past few years when things were able to change.
In fact, the township is doing so well that money was transferred from the general fund budget to the capital reserve in the chance of needing the funds doing the road.
“The general fund budget is showing a $207,061 surplus, offset by a $2 million transfer to capital reserve for future capital projects,” LaLonde said. “Again, on the paper, we are running a surplus for next year. The board made the decision to move $2 million from our almost $10 million cash surplus in general fund over to the capital reserve fund.”
The transfer will leave the township with $8.2 million in the general fund surplus for 2016.
The township also will see a decrease in the pension cost of over $192,000 for the minimum municipal obligation.
“I’d like to give kudos to the staff and the board for a 0.0 increase in net premiums for next year for medical insurance,” LaLonde said. “This was due to the change in our high-deductible plan — our legacy plan — working very closely with the police department and the union to agree to that change. In my career, I have never seen a 0.0 percent increase in medical premiums. That is remarkable.”
The township will also have a new initiative for 2016 called Citizen Transparency.
“The public, business owners and tax payers will be able to view detailed financial information via our website that is downloaded directly from our financial software,” LaLonde said. “It will provide revenues and expenditures and the information is updated very frequently. Users at home can see exactly where we stand month to month with our budget.”
This initiative is budgeted for next year.
With the possibility of having a sixth year without raising taxes and having a good surplus available, the members of the board were happy with the preliminary budget.
“We set a pretty (darn) good example,” said board member Raymond Halvorsen.
If any residents have questions, concerns or comments, they are encouraged to call the township or stop by the township building over the next month. The board will vote to adopt the budget at its next meeting on Dec. 9.