Draft Falls budget shows no property tax increase

BY GRACE DOVE
FALLS TWP. – The supervisors on Monday night voted to advertise a tentative budget for 2007.

The proposed spending plan shows an anticipated $386,395 in income and about $385,795 in expenses. It holds the line for the third consecutive year on the 7.4 mill property tax. The tax includes 0.4 mills for fire protection, provided by the Lake Winola Fire Co., and 0.8 mills for equipment and buildings.

A mill is a tax of $1 on every $1,000 of a property’s value as assessed for tax purposes. For example, the owner of a property in Falls Township valued at $10,000 would pay $74 property taxes.

No disaster-related expenses or income are included in the draft budget. Insurance, mainly for employees’ health care, is the main area of increase, the supervisors said.

The supervisors said they plan at their Dec. 11 meeting to approve a $52 emergency services tax for workers earning more than $12,000 in the township. The tax, from which senior citizens and the retired are exempt, is expected to generate about $20,000 in income. The money can be used only for police, fire and ambulance protection, road construction or maintenance, or to reduce property taxes.

Implementing the tax was necessary because the dirt roads require a lot of maintenance – mainly fixing potholes and applying oil to control dust, the supervisors said. About 20 miles of the township’s 26-1/2 miles of roads are dirt.

Development and increased traffic flow over the last 10 years have resulted in increased wear and tear on the dirt roads, the supervisors said. For example, roads that 10 years ago saw 10 vehicles a day now handle 25-30 vehicles a day.

The supervisors said they would eventually like to pave all township roads to help reduce wear and maintenance costs.

In other business, the supervisors adopted a debt act, an ordinance allowing them to apply for a $350,000 loan from the state Department of Transportation. This money will fund repairs caused by damage from the June 27-28 flood until money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency comes in. The zero-percent loan has a 10-year term.

The supervisors said they plan to continue to fine-tune the proposed budget until it’s adopted. It will be available for public inspection at the township office after Dec. 6. The supervisors plan to vote on it at a special meeting Dec. 28.