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Alburtis mayor vetoes borough's 2014 budget

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 04:01:35 PM CST
ALBURTIS, Pa. -

Alburtis Mayor Kathleen Palmer has vetoed the 2014 budget for the tiny borough in southern Lehigh County.

A 24 percent tax increase on borough residents "during these hard economic times" is a burden elected officials have not appropriately taken into consideration, wrote Palmer in a New Year's Day letter to borough council president Steven Hill.

"Approximately one-third of our residents are on fixed incomes, thereby creating a hardship on taxpayers," wrote Palmer. "We must utilize every opportunity to keep the property tax as low as we possibly can."

The borough has less than 2,400 residents.

Hill predicted council will vote to override the mayor's veto at its next meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Monday.

Hill acknowledged the tax increase is high, but necessary.

If council does not agree to override the veto, Hill said it will have to start from the beginning and submit a new budget.

In her letter, the mayor wrote that approving an 18 percent tax increase for the borough secretary "is simply not justified" at a time when the borough is facing a 24 percent tax increase.

Hill said that the mayor's interpretation of a pay increase for the borough secretary is inaccurate. The position is becoming salaried, rather than hourly and there will be no overtime pay, said Hill.

Another reason Palmer gave for vetoing the budget is because a "fire tax" has been presented an an allotment that can be removed at any time.

 Hill said the mayor wants the "fire tax" to be permanent but council does not, because council members don't know what the future holds in the way of finances.