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Kutztown Borough sewer & water rates rise 15 percent, taxes rise .25 mills

By Lisa Mitchell, The Kutztown Area Patriot

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kutztown Borough’s sewer and water rates are rising 15 percent, while the General Fund is increasing .25 mills.
The sewer and water rates increased by 15 percent each, “in an effort to rely less on their respective fund balance and retain the fund balance for emergency needs,” said Kutztown Borough Manager Gabriel Khalife.
While rates rose 15 percent, Khalife said, “We are still in the lower third of the regions rate’s when compared.”
Kutztown Borough Council approved with a 6-0 vote Tuesday, Dec. 17, the 2014 Budget with the General Fund increase of .25 mills.
A taxpayer will pay an additional $25 per year if their house is assessed $100,000, according to Khalife.
The mill rate for 2014 for the General Fund is 1.55 with a total of 3.35. For 2013 the mill rate for the General Fund was 1.3, with a total of 3.10.
When asked what led to the increase, Khalife said, “The Borough’s finances are stable, however they are flat, meaning there has been no significant growth of the tax base.”
He said some of the challenges Kutztown Borough faced this year with the budget included addressing the Borough’s capital needs and infrastructure needs.
“During the course of any given fiscal year, we work to reduce costs and to promote efficiencies in service delivery and cost savings. In addition we refinanced our debt to generate significant cost savings,” he said. “More significantly the Borough realigned our power purchase agreements out to 2017 to reduce the short and long term impact of the Foundry closing.”
Khalife would like to thank the department heads, employees, Borough Council and the Mayor for working together to develop the 2014 budget plan.