By Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
The 2017 budget, in its entirety, has been posted on the Township’s website (www.lmt.org) and has been available for public inspection at the Township Building, since early November.
The BOS has conducted two public hearings on this budget, and on November 30 they approved the preliminary budget which is up for final consideration this evening.
This budget incorporates many capital improvement initiatives and includes a significant reinvestment in our transportation infrastructure:
- $1,500,000 is budgeted for our annual road resurfacing program, more than any budget before. This will allow us to resurface nearly twice as many roads as in years past;
- Also budgeted is $3,000,000 for the construction of a Community Center, which will be offset by a $1,000,000 State grant; the remaining $2.0 million will be funded from the $15 million bond issue the BOS approved earlier this year;
- $4,000,000 is budgeted for open space purchases; we are in the process of finalizing the easement purchase for the Guzikowski 44-acre tract and fee-simple for the Hildebrand property.
- A $270,000 County Open space grant to help pay for the Hildebrand purchase, and the balance owed for both properties will be funded from the $15 million bond issue;
- $500,000 is budgeted for the construction of Quiet Zones, offset by a $350,000 Federal grant; (Multi – modal transportation program);
- $2,000,000 for various recreational improvements, including the development of the Snipes tract. The entire $2 million will be funded from the 2016 bond issue;
The 2017 spending plan totals $36,981,851.
This is up from the 2016 spending program due largely to the $15 million bond issue and resultant capital expenditures, most of which will hit the 2017 budget.
I am recommending a property tax increase of 2.35 mills. This will be the second property tax increase over a 8-year period. LMT does not have an earned income tax.
Of the 2.35 mills, 1.6 mills are dedicated to paying off the $15mm bond issue the BOS approved, and covering increases in Park and Recreation expenses. The remaining .75 mills will be applied to the General Fund to cover increases in personnel expenses and to maintain our Fund Balance.
Police officers will receive a 3.5% salary increase in 2017 and non-uniformed employees a 2.5% increase. The 2017 Budget will allow for two (2) additional police officer positions and the addition of a Finance Director.
The 2.35 mill increase translates to an increase of $98.11 per year for the average Lower Makefield taxpayer. Again, Lower Makefield does not levy a wage tax.
The 2017 budget does not require a sewer rental increase, due largely to the refinancing of our 2011 Sewer Bond. This refinancing will save us approximately $450,000 in fiscal 2017.