Salisbury Press

Thursday, September 19, 2019

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Budget expected on Dec. 13 agenda

The 2019 Salisbury Township budget is expected to be on the agenda of the 7 p.m. Dec. 13 township meeting in the municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.

The township tax rate is to remain at 2.2 mills for 2019. Based on the average township resident would be $440.

“I think this budget has the bare minimum,” Salisbury Township Director of Finance Paul Ziegenfus said at the Nov. 20 township meeting.

While no tax hike is expected, increases in service rates for township residents and businesses are expected.

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 recycling 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, of $187,000, in minimum municipal obligation for non-uniform pension employees in 2019.

The proposed 2019 Salisbury Township budget was made available for public inspection as of Nov. 9 during business hours Monday through Friday at the municipal building, where a copy of the 46-page budget can be viewed and on the township website, from which a copy of the budget can be printed.

The Nov. 8 vote to advertise the budget and make it available to the public fulfilled the required 20-day window for public inspection prior to a vote on the budget.

The budget was discussed for about one hour and 15 minutes during a workshop held after the Nov. 8 township meeting and during the workshop after the Nov. 20 meeting.

Ziegenfus first presented the budget at the Oct. 11 township meeting.

In 2019, Ziegenfus hopes to fund the township’s capital reserve.

“This year [2019], we want to have a good amount to put in the capital reserve,” Ziegenfus said at the Nov. 20 township workshop.

Ziegenfus said he would like to place $200,000 from the general fund into the capital reserve in 2019.

He said that ideally, $250,000 to $300,000 should be placed annually in the capital reserve.

“We’ll be running out of capital funding in the next five to six years,” Ziegenfus warned again at the Nov. 20 workshop.

“We’ll put some thought into how we’re going to finance capital projects,” Ziegenfus said.

Noted Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich, “This is the year for public works [salary] negotiations. We’re not finished yet. Depending on that, we may have some revisions [in the 2019 budget].”

If the budget is not voted on and approved at the Dec. 13 meeting, the board of commissioners also has a meeting scheduled 7 p.m. Dec. 27.

The township budget must be approved by Dec. 31.