The Springfield Township Board of Supervisors unanimously voted at this Tuesday’s meeting to advertise their proposed 2014 budget which includes a one-hundred and twenty thousand dollar increase in real estate taxes.
This tax raise is intended to reduce the projected one-hundred and sixty thousand dollar deficit for the year. An additional forty thousand dollars will also be pulled from Springfield’s reserve funds to balance the books.
“When we cut our expenses and we still come up two-hundred thousand short, that’s where we’re going to get it,” said Board member John Oehler of the real estate tax increase. The Board entered the night facing a projected two-hundred and seventy thousand dollar deficit but manage to shrink the budget down to the aforementioned figures.
“Across the board deficit in every category has increased,” said chair Barbara Lindtner. The supervisors attributed the deficit to a number of factors ranging from a weakened economy to the growing price of pensions and health insurance.
“That’s one of the biggest things that’s hitting us,” said Springfield Secretary/Treasurer Jason Wagner.
According to board all of the revenue generated from the increase in property tax will go directly to vital functions such as Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and the Fire Department.
“It’s essentially $4.75 a month per person to fun the fire department and EMS to the level that other townships have already been doing for years,” said Board member John Oehlner.
Will Elm, one of Springfield’s firefighter’s was in attendance and spoke of what the proposed budget meant to his department.
“The fire company does appreciate the continued support of the township in helping us continue to provide service for you guys,” he said.
Other community members praised the board for being judicious with the taxpayer’s money.
“We are indeed getting the bang for our buck,” said local resident Jim Nelson. “We are doing more with less and I commend the job you’ve done in being prudent with our money.”
Nelson also proposed creating an individual tax for emergency services, a measure that has been previously discussed by the board. The board did not move forward with the initiative at this time, however.
Some in attendance though expressed concern that the proposed tax increases were not enough, and that more expenditures should be cut.
“Times aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse,” said Springfield resident Jim Cochran. “You have to contract like everything else.”
The budget will now undergo a twenty day comment period during which revisions can be made before the Board of Supervisors votes to approve it in their next meeting on December 10th.
In other business the Board unanimously approved an ordinance to set-up a Parks and Recreation department in Springfield. It will consist of five members running on five year terms. They will be tasked with maintaining parks and creating recreational programs for the township, along with other duties delegated to them by the board.