Northampton Press

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Lehigh Township discusses draft budget

Thursday, November 1, 2012 by ELSA KERSCHNER in Local News

The new Lehigh Township proposed budget increases taxes by 10 percent.

However, during discussions the possibility of bringing that down to no increase was mentioned.

There was also a concern that no increase would eventually require a huge increase as happened once previously.

The budget would raise the current millage by .52 to 5.2 mills.

A contingency fund has been established.

Pavilion rental fees are being considered.

Supervisor Cynthia Miller asked if the money from Woodstone for signs was included in revenue. Treasurer Alice Rehrig said it will become a regular item.

Miller wanted to know if cell phone and calling plans are included. Rehrig said they are.

Miller questioned the line item for the "alert" program, a matter of $1,500 for maintenance. Police Chief Scott Fogel is getting a grant to update the program.

Miller wanted to know what the line item for "police, miscellaneous" covered. It is for minor equipment including a police radio for a car that cannot contact the others.

Computer maintenance is done off contract by a man who works hourly. He worked on the network and has gotten the police computers functional, said Rehrig. Software that will allow the township police to tie into the county will be installed and the staff trained. The maintenance cost includes updates.

The Act 537 expense of $20,000 is for updating the act to cover the area along Route 145.

It does not cover the MS4 permit application, which would be another $20,000. Supervisor Darryl Snover said it shouldn't be funded.

"The more I am researching, the more money that will come up as inspections are required on every water. I want to reach out to other townships. We have no say in these unfunded mandates. We need time for legislative relief," Snover said.

He said at some point it would require a tax increase and the township hasn't gotten into testing. Everything he hears is that this is just the beginning.

Solicitor David Backenstoe said a possibility exists that the township could get fined by more than the cost of doing the work.

Supervisor Keith Hantz said Backenstoe and engineer Phil Malitsch should work on it. "The remediation will fall on the township," he said.

A full-time road crew member and a police officer are included in the draft budget. Road foreman Frank Zamadics said the new member is not crucial unless we have a "heavy" winter.

Rehrig said the recreation commission asked for fencing on the third base line at Berlinsville, a new pavilion at Indian Trail Park and also playground equipment at Pennsville.

Hantz asked about infield mix.

Rehrig said a pile is ordered and Zamadics decides what fields need it most.

Hantz said he would like to see recreation requests come directly from the recreation minutes.

Supervisor Sandra Hopkins said she thought they were going to buy a sweeper. Rehrig said there is an allocation for a piece of equipment that could be a sweeper.

Hopkins questioned $75,000 for chip and oil but nothing for paving. That could come from the state fund which will be $107,000, she was told.

Two vehicles are listed as capital purchases for the police department at $30,000 each. Rehrig expected one could be bought with a grant.

The building fund has $333,900 less $10,000 for the master concept plan. There is $281,000 in the fire truck fund and $51,000 will be added by the end of the year.

The .52 increase in millage will provide $137,625 in revenue.

Hopkins said she wants to know what she can tell people who want to know where it will go. New personnel will probably use a part of the roughly 10 percent increase, said Snover.

The budget will be ready to advertise at the first meeting in November.

A representative from Buchart Horn has been inspecting the buildings and talking to people in the various departments as a start toward the master concept plan.

The solar energy systems ordinance was adopted after explanations by Backenstoe, who said it permits accessory use of solar systems. However, when a solar energy system is the principal use, it is a conditional use and will come before the supervisors.