Zerbe Twp. taxes to increase 1.5 mills
TREVORTON - Taxes will increase on average $14 for property owners in Zerbe Township in 2014, and the extra money will be used to fund street lighting and fire hydrants, officials said.
Supervisors approved a 1.5-mill real estate tax increase by approving next year's budget Monday evening.
The increases will be applied to the street lighting fund, which will rise from 2 to 3 mills, and the fire fund, which rises from 1.5 to 2 mills. The increases raise the real estate tax millage overall from 18.5 to 20 mills, an 8 percent increase.
Each mill raises approximately $11,000 in revenue.
Supervisor Mike Mazer, who worked on the budget with township secretary Ellen Troutman and received input from supervisors Michael Schwartz and Gene Geise, said the tax increase was necessary to keep the two funds solvent. In the 2013 budget, $19,340 was budgeted in street light expenses, compared to $20,080 in revenue. Expenditures this year for street lighting are expected to reach $26,940, a 38 percent increase.
"The same thing with the fire fund," Mazer said. "The money we pay out for the fire hydrants to Aqua Pennsylvania, we've run out of money with that fund, so (if the tax wasn't raised), we would have to use money from the general fund to make payments."
The tax increase in the fire fund will soften the blow for a possible $12,000 cost to purchase new radios for the police car and township vehicles to interact with the county's new emergency communications system.
Schwartz said that if the taxes an't increased, Zerbe Township would have to take money away from other projects, like desperately needed street repairs.
"Some of the township roadways are in deplorable condition," he said.
The 2014 budget has a $82,167 surplus.
Total revenue for the 2014 budget is $448,569, a 6 percent decrease from last year. Expenditures also decreased, 13 percent from 2013, from $423,008 to $366,402. The biggest drop in expenditures is under "general services administration," going from $168,841 to $58,206. Township secretary Ellen Zerbe said this comes from paying sewer workers, finally, from the sewer fund rather than the general fund.
A summary of the budget is as follows:
- General fund - $324,565 revenue, $279,432 expenditures, $45,133 surplus.
- Highway fund - $48,477 revenue, $39,000 expenditures, $9,477 surplus.
- Fire funds (with tax increase) - $24,747 revenue, $20,280 expenditures, $4,467 surplus.
- Light funds (with tax increase) - $31,580 revenue, $26,940 expenditures, $4,640 surplus.
- Total for all funds (with tax increases) - $448,569 revenue, $366,402 expenditures, $82,167 surplus.
- Sewer funds (with rate increase from $88 to $120, voted on in September) - $372,227 revenue, $327,843 expenditures, $44,384 surplus.
"We have a surplus in the sewer fund now," Mazer said, "but that could be wiped out at any point due to the construction of the new sewer plant."
Supervisors Mazer, Schwartz and Gene Geise voted to approve the budget.
In other business
- Geise reported that signage is on the way to change Sixth Street between Coal and Shamokin streets to a one-way street. The signage will be paid for by Line Mountain School District, which requested the change.
- The board approved a motion to approve a $45,000 insurance settlement for Susan Anderson, to settle a slip and fall case against the township.
- Consent was given to the Northumberland County Tax Claims Borough to sell the property at 220 S. Tenth St. at a repository sale.