In a two to one vote, the Moore Township Board of Supervisors voted to propose a 2 mills tax increase for the 2020 budget on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Moore Township municipal building. The township would receive approximately $490,000 from the increase.
Nicholas Steiner, the Moore Township manager, explained his process for suggesting the tax increase to the Board of Supervisors.
“I have always been taught when doing budgets is that you start high and cut down,” Steiner said. “So it started with a 2 mills increase, which frankly from just looking at it from a cash flow perspective, it is needed. This year and last year we tapped into our cash reserves to get through the budget. For long-term fiscal stability that’s alarming because you want to make sure you have sufficient funds coming in and sufficient funds going out.”
Some of the things the tax increase will cover include helping the township fund a public works director, a pension increase for police, as well as general salary and benefit increases. They can also start improving the township building that has mold and needs roof repairs. The IT needs to be updated, including antivirus programing and cloud backup. The computers need to be replaced, as well as the police server. Steiner also prepared a budget with a 1 mills increase, but most of the stated improvements would be cut in that budget.
“The average median home value assessment is $57,500,” Steiner said. “For a 2 mills increase, that would cost the average homeowner about $110 to $112 a year.”
A public attendee stated that, in their opinion, things are falling apart and they would rather it get fixed now than have to pay a larger bill later on.
“That’s fine for you and me who can afford it but what about the people that can’t afford it?” Richard Gable, board supervisor said. “We live in a community with a lot of older, retired people who can’t afford to pay a 2 mills tax increase.”
Chairman Daniel Piorkowski went on to point out that the taxed amount is based off of the house assessment.
“The older people in this community are not the 70, 80, 90 thousand dollar houses,” Piorkowski said. “I would venture to say the older people have houses that are assessed lower than the newer houses. So I don’t think the burden falls to the older people.”
Gable replied to Piorkowski saying, “What did you say? ‘I voted no on the tax increases in 2016,’ that’s what you ran on.”
“I voted no on the tax increase because when I asked you about the tax increase I didn’t get an explanation like the township manager gave,” Piorkowski replied, “What were you going to use it for? You didn’t have an answer, he has an answer, he has a plan. We ran on increasing the taxes.”
Vice Chairman David Shaffer asked about previous tax increases.
“We raised the millage twice in the last 10 years,” Shaffer said. “What did we get from a 2 mills tax increase in those years? I am still sitting in this building. We need a plan for the roads, for public works, for a number of things.”
The tax increase was brought up to vote by Piorkowski, seconded by Shaffer. Piorkowski and Shaffer both voted for the plan, Gable against.
The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 at the township building.