This month’s message will focus on the budget. The unstable economy continues to affect everyone, including municipal government. The economy has affected every aspect of our lives. Interest rates on investments have dropped, and this is just one example of a revenue source that has disappeared. Local government depends on property taxes and state funding. Other sources of revenue include hotel tax and permit fees.
The Governor has cut our energy tax receipt funding by $239,118 this year. In previous years, this funding was paid to the State by utility companies acting on behalf of the Township, and the Governor has taken this assistance away. The State has also cut $331,224 of Consolidated Municipal Property Relief Tax. This is just another of example of the assistance that is being taken away from the community. As a result of the cuts, the Township is forced to consume a total loss of $570,342, or approximately 3.25 cents on the tax rate.
The State does not allow municipalities to keep local sales tax money. They constantly mandate and make laws that force municipalities to comply. These tactics put a tremendous strain on the Township and costs you unnecessary money.
Township Council and Administration are managing these issues while controlling property taxes in ways such as:
· More than 22 employees have been eliminated through attrition in the last two years. The proposed 2010 budget includes additional decreases in the number of positions through attrition. Although this is a tremendous strain on our services, our goal is to continue to provide the same quality services.
· We have cut more than $1 million dollars in non-mandatory spending.
· Even with more than $1 million in mandatory increases, the municipal budget has increased by less than one percent, which is well below the increase in Consumer Price Index for our area.
· In the last two years, the Township has procured more than $2 million in various grants for many necessary projects such as road improvements.
· The Township has reduced energy costs.
· We continue to utilize our own in-house road improvement program for smaller paving projects.
· Continuing shared services programs with the MUA and school district and exploring additional opportunities.
· Partnered with private businesses and the County to provide programs and services to our residents.
· Continuing the community service programs to clean parks, roads, recreation complexes and Township owned buildings.
At the end of this process, our budget has no spending for discretionary or new programs and services. The Township is operating on hard costs. We will work together to get through this difficult time.