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Emmaus homeowners will pay more in taxes next year

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 16 2013 09:45:41 PM CST
EMMAUS, Pa. -

Homeowners in Emmaus will pay higher taxes next year and the only drama left is just how much they'll shell out.

With no fanfare or theatrics, the borough council voted 7-0 to raise taxes from 4.325 mills to 5.075 mills in the 2014 budget during Monday night's meeting.

The millage will be split between the general fund tax of 4.5254 mills and the creation of a fire fund tax of 0.5496 mills.

For the average homeowner, defined as a home assessed at $150,000,  that hike will cost you an extra $118 a year.

The reasons for the tax hike have been documented at previous meetings and none of that changed during Monday night's borough council encounter.

Rising pension and insurance costs and a costly 10th Street culvert project take the blame for the lion's share of the increase.

Council has been giving residents, who have little enthusiasm in seeing their property taxes escalate, a sliver of hope over the last few meetings that they will look for additional revenue to lessen that burden.

"When the final numbers come out at the end of the year, I believe this council will be able to lower that tax increase," said Councilman Brent Labenberg on Monday night. "And I am looking forward to doing that.

Just looking at some of the end of the year numbers as far as revenue, I think we will be able to adjust it a little bit," Labenberg, said. Labenberg was devoid of any "adjusting" specifics.

I hope so, we'll see," said President Lee Ann Gilbert to Labenberg's statement, with the enthusiasm of a first-grader asking for second helping of lima beans.

In other business, the council also formally passed the 2014 budget in a separate resolution. A resolution on the borough police pension contribution was tabled awaiting the police union meeting, according to Councilman Brian Holtzhafer.