Salisbury Press

Sunday, October 13, 2019

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

2019 budget available for public inspection

The proposed 2019 Salisbury Township budget is now available for public inspection.

The budget was to have been posted Nov. 9 on the township website, from which a copy of the 46-page budget can be printed.

A copy of the budget is also available for the public to view during business hours Monday through Friday at the township municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.

The budget was discussed for about one hour and 15 minutes during a workshop held after the Nov. 8 township meeting.

Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles made the police department’s presentation. Among the highlights is that the Lehigh and Northampton counties casino grant is expected to pay nearly the full cost of two new police cars.

Salisbury Township Department of Pubic Works Director John Andreas made the public works department presentation. Among the highlights is the expected hiring of two employes in the public works department.

The 2019 budget is unchanged as presented, according to Salisbury Township Director of Finance Paul Ziegenfus, who first presented the budget at the Oct. 11 township meeting.

The 2018 township tax rate is to remain at 2.2 mills for 2019. Based on the average township residential assessment of $200,000, the tax bill would be $440.

“The budget that will be advertised will be unchanged from the one you’ve seen,” Ziegenfus told township commissioners, who received copies of the budget at the Oct. 11 meeting.

The budget is expected to be discussed at the next township meeting, 7 p.m. Nov. 20, rather than the usual second Thursday of the month, because it is Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day.

The final budget is expected to be voted on at the 7 p.m. Dec. 13 township meeting, once the required 20-day window for public inspection is met.

“We will continue to discuss the budget and make changes if necessary,” Ziegenfus said.

If needed, an additional budget meeting could be held after Dec. 13.

In his presentation, Stiles said, “We really don’t have any unusual expenses.

“We’re asking for three [police] cars, two of which are financed by the casino grant.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do next year,” Stiles continued, referring to the casino grant. The funds, which have been divided up between Lehigh and Northampton county municipalities based on Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem revenue, are to go directly to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is to then disburse the funds.

The township police vehicles to be purchased will replace vehicles.

A part-time building inspector is expected to be hired under the township’s new rental-resale inspection program.

Andreas said hiring two public works employees will help restore some department staffing, which has been operating with six fewer employees.

“In the past eight years, we lost six people through attrition that we have not replaced,” Andreas said.

“Do you have enough to repair roads?” board of commissioners Vice President Debra Brinton asked Andreas.

“I did increase that,” Andreas replied, referring to road repair materials funding, increasing from $160,000 to $210,000. The township has about 77 miles of streets and roads under its jurisdiction.

“I think it’s very important to maintain the roads in our township. I need to know what that’s going to take,” Brinton said.

While there is no tax hike in the proposed 2019 township budget, there will be increases in service rates.

The water rate is to increase 30 cents, from $6.30 per 1,000 gallons to $6.60 per 1,000 gallons.

The sewer rate is to increase $6 per quarter, from $66 per quarter to $72 per quarter.

Water and sewer rate increases are pass-along increases from Lehigh County Authority.

The refuse and recyling rate is proposed to increase by $1 per quarter, from $67 per quarter to $68 per quarter.

The refuse and recycling increase is a pass-along from Republic Services, the township-contracted trash hauler.

The proposed 2019 Salisbury Township General Fund Revenue is: $7,892,742.

The proposed 2019 Salisbury Township General Fund Expenditures is: $8,048,438.

The 2019 deficit is expected to be: $155,696.

To offset the deficit, the township plans to take money from its fund balance.

Costs affecting the 2019 township budget, according to Ziegenfus, include:

- Built-in cost-of-living allowances salary increases,

- A 15 percent increase, or $170,000, in health insurance premiums for 2019, and

- A 37 percent increase, or $187,000, in minimum municipal obligation for non-uniform pension employees in 2019.