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Upper Saucon Twp. budget holds the line on taxes

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 23 2013 08:37:08 PM CST
UPPER SAUCON TWP., Pa. -

The Upper Saucon Township Board of Supervisors' passage of the 2014 budget Monday night hands the nuts-and-bolts task of running the government back to the administration.

The board also handed out an early holiday present to residents with no increase in taxes.

By a 5-0 vote the township's real estate tax remains at 1.3691 mills with a general fund balance projected to end 2014 with a $1.66 million reserve - 17% of projected expenditures - with all funds exceeding 2013 actual expenditures by $310,746 or 1.6 percent.

The township also holds the line on water and sewer rates and added more bucks to employees' paychecks with increases of 2 percent to police and public workers and 2.5 percent to non-union members.

A total of $4.8 million is allocated for the completion of two roadway rehabilitation projects - Afton Village and Taylor Drive - started earlier this year and $1.1 million is set aside for road improvements and maintenance throughout the township.

Another $1.1 million will be flushed toward sewage systems capital improvements.

In other business, friction arose when a resolution to approve the fees the township charges for various building, zoning, and occupancy permits came up.

Supervisor Dennis Benner questioned the wisdom behind the fees and how much scrutiny had been done in establishing them.

"I'm not saying it's right or wrong," Benner said of the fees. "...I'm not sure there is a correlation between the fee structure and the actual cost (to the township)."

Sharyn Heater, director of community development, attempted to mollify Benner's concerns and noted that the fees had been arrived at a few years previous after an exhaustive review was conducted. 

Vice Chairman John Gilda, Jr. stuck up for the fees noting there was "extreme justification" for them.

In the end, the fee structure resolution presented by the administration passed as presented, under the auspice that the supervisors would take a much closer look at them following a review by a committee next term.

The supervisors also agreed not to re-interview current board and commission members who are seeking reappointment to their posts, unless they deem they have a reason to investigate further.

Currently, one dozen people applied for reappointment to township boards and commissions for 12 slots, according to township Manager Thomas Beil. 

"They are all doing pretty well," said Beil of the 12 individuals.

As such, the board approved all 12 re-appointments. Beil added that two additional applicants wishing to serve the township were recently brought to his attention, but there are no open spots for their potential service at this time.

Monday night's meeting proved to be the last for Gilda, Jr., who was recognized for his service to the township at the start of the session.