Amity considers no tax increase budget for 2018

The Amity Township Board of Supervisors is reviewing a 2018 budget with the goal of avoiding a tax increase.

Township Manager Troy Bingaman said at the board’s Nov. 1 meeting that the current expenses proposed is $4,697,754, an increase of $81,017 from the 2017 budget amount of $4,616,737.70.

“Revenues are flat, and to keep expenses in line with that, the budget does not include one office currently deployed, and no money transfer to the capital fund — all to not raise taxes,” said Bingaman.

The proposed budget does include a quarterly residential sewer rate increase of $10, raising the quarterly sewer rate from $100 to $110.

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Business Manager Tracy Nonamaker said the sewer increase would result in a surplus of $1,300 at the end of 2018.

The rate increase would yield $160,000 additional revenue to the sewer fund.

“We did just bump it up,” said Supervisor Paul R. Weller, adding, “we can’t increase it every year.”

“I’m not approving that,” said Weller.

The board increased sewer rates for 2017 from $90 to $100 per quarter.

It also increased taxes for the first time in 10 years from 1.95 mills to 2.45 mills.

Properties with an assessed value of $100,000 are charged an annual tax bill of $245.

“If we don’t increase sewer rates, we need to remove $160,000 from the sewer budget,” said supervisors’ Chairperson Kimberly J. McGrath.

The board is expected to finalize and approve the preliminary budget on Nov. 15, allowing for a 30-day public review period before final approval in December.

Bingaman said the township recently increased its sewer debt service by $1.5 million.

Those funds will be used to upgrade two sewer pump stations and other proposed sewer projects through 2020, including construction of the Leaf Creek Interceptor on Route 662.

The $1.5 million is part of a $7 million municipal bond approved by the board on Sept. 6 to refinance $4 million of current debt and finance the future sewer projects.

Amity Township will receive $5.5 million from the $7 million refinance.

Board members said on Sept. 6 that residential sewer bills would increase $5 per quarter -- not the currently proposed $10 increase.

“You said rates need to go up by $5 per quarter, but this is $110 a quarter and just barely meeting expenses -- and that includes projected revenues at $100 per quarter,” said Nonamaker.

The board awarded the Leaf Creek Interceptor construction work to Almeida & Hudak LLC, Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County, for their low bid of $1,005,614.

McGrath said Almeida was $900,000 less than the highest bidder.

Bids were opened Oct. 31.

Ebert Engineering of Schwenksville estimated the work to construction cost at $1,151,545.

Construction work is expected to start in December and conclude within 180 days.