Northampton Press

Friday, July 20, 2018

East Allen Township supervisors set tax rate, budget for 2018

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

At East Allen Township’s regular board of supervisors meeting Dec. 14, Chairman Roger Unangst announced the township’s 2018 budget.

“We are setting the tax rate at 6.5 mills. That is the same rate that we have now. There is no tax increase again this year,” Unangst said as he introduced the new budget.

In years past, the budget has been accepted as long as there is not a tax rate increase. This year was a little different.

Lori Fox questioned several lines in the budget. Fox presented budgets from a couple of surrounding municipalities.

“These are examples of municipalities that have done a good job explaining where taxpayer money is being spent,” she said.

Fox questioned some of the expense lines in the budget. She received satisfactory answers on each item.

“If we had more explanation in the budget, these questions would be unnecessary,” she said.

The one expense that did raise concern was a proposed 3-percent pay increase for township employees.

“Inflation is under control. State increases were a little over 1 percent,” she said.

Supervisor Mark Schwartz clarified the township is in negotiations over the increase.

“The employees joined a union last year. We are negotiating with the union, but we have not signed a contract,” he said.

Fox is working with residents on an organization called Citizens for Accountability & Responsible Development (CARD). East Allen Township’s CARD has 15 active members. According to Fox, the group is just forming and is focused only on East Allen Township.

The website for the group is eastallencard.com. There is a general email box at eastallenCARD@gmail.com.

In another action that will impact the 2018 budget, township Manager Deborah Seiple announced she will be retiring at the end of March 2018. She expressed her thanks for the opportunity to serve the township during her 30-plus years as a volunteer, supervisor and manager.

There are no immediate plans to replace her. Supervisors will begin the search process for a new manager after the holidays.

Supervisor Robert Mills is leaving the board. Mills was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Chris Colitis. He expressed his thanks to the board for the experience and insight he gained during his short tenure.

Supervisor Madelyn Kemp is also leaving the board. She lost her seat by one vote. Kemp’s tenure stretches across many years.

“One thing about Maggie is that she always made her decisions on what was best for residents,” Unangst said in his goodbye remarks.

The township’s reorganization meeting is Jan. 2, 2018. This is when new board members are introduced and committees are assigned.