Montgomery Supervisors Propose $11.8M Budget, No Tax Increase
The general fund for 2013 will have a $6,000 surplus
Montgomery Township Supervisors Monday approved advertisement of an $11.8 million budget, with no tax increase for 2013, and a $6,160 surplus.
The budget will be adopted at the Dec. 17 meeting.
Montgomery Township has not had a tax increase for more than nine years. In 2006, supervisors reduced the millage rate from 1.61 mills to 1.49 mills.
Homestead exemption remains at $30,000. Finance Director Shannon Drosnock said more than 75 percent of property owners participate in the homestead exemption program, totaling $308,000 in annual tax relief.
Total revenues in the 2013 budget are 3.4 percent higher than in 2012 — $11,872,320 compared to $11,481,685.
Of those total revenues, $9.5 million are tax revenues, which are up 2.9 percent from 2012. Non-tax revenues are $1.8 million, up 3.59 percent from 2012. Interfund transfers for 2013 total $432,220, a 15 percent increase from last year.
"Interfund transfers is the amount of money that the capital reserve transfers into the general fund reserve to replace capital equipment," Drosnock said.
Drosnock said real estate tax revenues increased by 1.84 percent. New construction is expected to offset the impact of pending tax appeals, she said.
Earned income tax revenue will increase 3.55 percent from 2012, Drosnock said.
About 33 percent of township revenues are earned income tax. Business tax makes up about 28 percent of revenues. Real estate and permits make up about 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
"Business taxes are budgeted with an overall increase of 3.2 percent, as a result of strong 2012 receipts and collection efforts," Drosnock said. "Permit fees are budgeted at an increase of 7.01 percent, based on strong 2011 and 2012 receipts, and based on director's estimate of fees for projected construction activity in the township for the coming year."
On the expense side, personnel expenditures increased about 4 percent to $9,241,720 in 2013 from 2012. Non-personne expenses decreased by .52 percent to $2,192,220. Interfund transfers increased 15 percent to $432,220.
All in all, total expenditures are estimated at $11,866,160, a 3.71 percent increase from 2012.
The police department makes up about 51 percent of expenses in the general fund. Public works makes up about 16 percent of expenses, administration at 10 percent, finance at 9 percent and zoning at 7 percent.
Drosnock said the largest departmental budget increase is the Montgomery Township Police Department, due to personnel costs in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, workers compensation premium increases and carpet replacement. Montgomery Township Police employs 36 officers.
There is a 31.5 percent increase to the police pension contribution to $626,750, Drosnock said.
Non-uniform pensions increased $4,670 from 2012 to $213,370.
The finance department at the township also had a budget increase, so that a new IT associate can be hired and software can be upgraded.
Medical and prescription premiums will decrease by 1.91 percent in 2013.
"We receive premium rates from Delaware Valley Health Insurance Trust, for an increase of 6 percent. But this increase is offset by an increase in the multi-trust discount that we receive from Delaware Valley, and a 58 percent increase in the rate stablization fund, which the township can utilize to offset premiums," Drosnock said.
Capital expenditures for the township include $928,470 in replacement equipment; $927,625 for new capital equipment; $1.6 million for the curb/sidewalk/road program; and $27,500 for traffic improvement engineering.
"Other operating funds throughout the township are the Fire Services Fund, with a slight deficit budget of $9,300, and the parks and recreation fund, with a slight surplus of $2,800," Drosnock said.
The general fund balance, as of Dec. 31, 2012, will be $3.43 million, or 30 percent in reserve.
Supervisor Mike Fox said he was glad to see that Chief Scott Bendig "is making important decisions like changing the carpet."
"Are you going to leave the drapes?" joked Fox.
He said Drosnock did a "nice job" on the budget presentation.
Supervisor Robert Birch, who serves as liaison of Montgomery Township, said the board has kept taxes in line for years.
"One of the nice things we did here was we were able to raise the Homestead Exemption, and in doing that, we wiped out at least 200 of the Neshaminy Falls folks from paying property taxes. It greatly helped them, especially the fixed income residents."
Birch said the township has a very good resident and business base.
"We have more businesses that are located here, which is good. This board doesn't have to raise taxes," he said.
With the community center on the horizon, Birch said it's too early to tell what will happen with that, as far as taxes are concerned, in Montgomery Township.
"That's got to break even and pay for itself," Birch said.
"We have no intention of raising taxes to fund that," said Chairman Candyce Chimera.