LIMERICK – In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, Council supervisors marked the seventh consecutive year they will publicize a council budget that does not raise property taxes.
With supervisor Michael McCloskey absent, the remaining four supervisors all voted Tuesday to publicize the $25,007,364 draft budget presented by assistant manager and treasurer Beth DiPrete.
The milling rate accompanying the budget, 2,593 mills, remains the same as in 2016.
The budget spreadsheet that DiPrete reviewed with the council showed that real estate tax income of just $4 million is now outpaced by 511 taxes such as the earned income tax, which is expected to generate more than $6 million. .8 million in 2023.
Other sources of income include grants totaling $4.5 million;
DiPrete explained that the $3.5 million increase in spending from 2022 to 2023 is due to several issues. They include an assumption in the 2022 budget that all police departments and municipalities would be fully staffed. They were not.
“The 2023 budget ($1.4 million increase) assumes all staff and takes into account the overall increase in costs of supplies (gas, road material, etc.)” he wrote in response to a question from the MediaNews group.
“Fire Fund 2023 budget, increased by $284,000, includes new debt payment for a replaced special service truck as part of the long-term capital program, increased mortgage payments for Linfield Station (firefighters) and an increase in the volunteer retention program,” she wrote. “The 2032 road improvement budget, an increase of $223,000, includes increased costs for the Lewis (Road) Sidewalk project which is been delayed since 2022”.
Additionally, “2023 liquid fuels budget shows an increase of $269,000. This budget is for contracted road paving services. No projects were completed in 2022 due to road material costs, so the 2023 budget reflects projected cost increases,” DiPrete explained.
Finally, “Park Capital’s 2022 budget, an increase of $1,046,000, assumed that Phase 1 of the project (Limerick Community Park) would be completed, but this project has been delayed and has been re-budgeted in 2023. Additionally, the 2023 budget includes the rebuilding of Manderach Playground assuming a grant for which we have applied is received,” DiPrete wrote.
DiPrete said Limerick has a total “fund balance” or fund surplus of about $7.5 million, and a general reserve of $1.1 million is being used to balance this year’s budget.
An additional $2.3 million is being used by the capital fund to pay for capital equipment purchases.
In terms of annual recurring spending, the single largest cost to township taxpayers remains the Police Department, which will spend $5.8 million in 2023, followed closely by public works, which appears to be spending $5.6 million. , partly due to the $1.8 million budget for road improvements. Much of that spending will be paid for by the “liquid fuel” money that each municipality receives from the state as gasoline tax revenue.
General government spending for 2023 appears to cost $2.2 million, with another $1.8 million for emergency services.
What the budget won’t see is an increase in earned income taxes to pay for open space conservation.
On Election Day, a campaign bid calling for a 0.25% income tax hike to be imposed on open spaces was narrowly rejected by voters by a 2.3% margin.
Supervisor Linda Erwin expressed disappointment with that result.
“When I campaigned, I heard everyone saying they wanted more responsible development and a more open space,” Erwin said on Tuesday. “And so I supported that referendum.”
He added “I understand the purse strings are tight right now and maybe the timing on this wasn’t ideal. I just want the residents to know that we are still listening to you and that you want and deserve responsible development and it is not something we are going to pass up. We will continue to evaluate the projects and we will do what we can”.
The budget will be open for public inspection for 30 days before adoption next month.