Franklin Township budget to include no tax hike

November 27, 2012

WAYNESBURG – Franklin Township supervisors have prepared a tentative 2013 budget, that despite a drop in the township’s assessed property value, will hold the line on taxes.

The supervisors presented the proposed 2013 spending plan Tuesday and expect to adopt it at their regular meeting Dec. 10

The proposed budget includes a general fund of $1,406,713, which is about $11,000 greater than the current year budget.

Though the township’s 2013 total assessed value declined 3.8 percent this year, the new valuation is still higher than it was in 2011 because of a large increase in value last year, said Carol Kraft, township secretary.

Last year, the township’s assessed value increased by about 9 percent, primarily because of an increase in coal valuations; this year, it declined 3.8 percent for the same reason.

One mill in the township is expected to generate $311,313. This year, because of the higher valuation, a mill brought in $329,589.

The township currently levies a 1.28 mill property tax. Of that, 0.75 of a mill is earmarked for the general fund, 0.17 of a mill for machinery and 0.36 of a mill for fire protection.

The township has not raised taxes since about 1987, when it adopted a tax for fire protection following a ballot referendum.

On the revenue side, the budget projects an increase in earned income tax collections. Kraft explained the township had budgeted $650,000 in collections for this year but ended up receiving more than $1 million.

The supervisors have decided to keep the local service tax at $10. The tax is collected from each person who works in the township. The township could levy a tax of as much as $52.

The township also has received in new revenue $40,306 for a natural gas lease on the old township dump property and $474,601 in Act 13 Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling impact fees.

Supervisor Reed Kiger said the supervisors have not yet determined how the Act 13 money will be spent.

Expenditures will remain fairly in line with the current year though health care costs are expected to increase 9.5 percent.

The budget also includes $50,000 to update the township’s comprehensive plan and $5,000 for the Greene County Humane Society. The budget lists $25,000 for snow removal.

The supervisors, at a special meeting Nov. 16, also approved the sale of a 2002 F-350 Super Duty diesel one-ton truck.

The supervisors received bids in October but rejected them when they came in lower than expected. The high bid then was $12,882.50.

The supervisors re-bid and received seven bids. They sold the truck to the high bidder, William Yarnot of McKees Rock, who bid $18,282.50.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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