The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors wiull vote at their Wednesday meeting to impose a property tax after reopening the budget.
Reopening the budget comes after Democrats took the majority on the Board of Supervisors earlier this month. The elected body is made up of incumbent Democratic supervisors Jen Dix and Phil Calabro. They were joined by fellow Democrats John Mack and Linda Bobrin. Kyle Davis remained on the Board of Supervisors and is the lone Republican.
Earlier this month, the supervisors voted 4-1 to revisit the 2018 budget.
The revised $12.57 million budget would add a 1 mill property tax, increasing overall tax rates from 3.5 mills to 4.5 mills. The additional mill would bring the township about $300,000 that would be put toward funding police safety projects and would put a dent in the roughly $1.3 million projected deficit.
The average homeowner in the township would pay about $40 extra to the township in 2018, according to numbers released during the budget process.
With Republicans in control in the final days on 2017, the GOP-majority Board of Supervisors did not want to approve a tax increase and asked Township Manager Kurt Ferguson to find additional savings in the budget. While he did make some cuts, including only purchasing three police vehicles instead of four, there was still a projected deficit that would be filled with savings.
Even with the 1 mill tax increase, Newtown Township could have to pull as much as $700,000 from its $2.72 million fund balance. He cited the loss of revenue from the closing of Lockheed Martin and additional nearby communities adding an Earned Income Tax, which takes money away from Newtown Township’s EIT revenues, has caused a structural imbalance.
Between the various township departments and public safety agencies, Newtown Township employs 65 people and has an aggressive capital spending plan that involves many projects the administration considers needed.
In addition, the township will put more funding toward the Newtown Ambulance Squad and fire hydrant maintenance in 2018 under the revised budget.
“We budget conservative. My goal is to always beat the bottom line by 3 to 5 percent,” Ferguson said.
A revised budget needs to be passed by mid-February, according to state regulation.
The Board of Supervisors will meet Wednesday 7 p.m. in the meeting room at the township offices off Durham Road.