No tax increase for Elizabeth Twp. Lee-damaged bridge will be big expenditure in 2012

By on October 19, 2011

By: MELINDA ELMER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Despite a proposed budget that contains deficit spending, municipal tax rates in Elizabeth Township should remain at zero for 2012.

At a budget preparation meeting Monday, the supervisors agreed to a plan that will keep both the township’s real estate and per capita tax rates at zero.

There is a real estate transfer tax, which is paid when property is sold, and there is an earned income tax. The proposed budget is looking for $60,000 from the transfer tax and $350,000 from earned income.

"The earned income and real estate transfer taxes are our main income," said Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Rita Snavely.

Estimated expenditures are projected to exceed the estimated revenues for the coming year by almost $300,000.

Total revenues for 2012 are expected to be $545,000.

Total expenses for next year are projected to be $834,000.

That’s a proposed increase in expenses of about $147,000 over the 2011 budget.

"That’s not awful, considering we’re doing a $200,000 bridge," said Supervisor Chairman Brian Wiker, referring to Old Pike, which will continue to be closed until the bridge, damaged during Tropical Storm Lee, is replaced.

The bridge is expected to be the township’s biggest project of the year.

The proposed deficit spending in this budget will be offset by an asset carryover from this year to next, in the amount of $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, back to the big project for 2012, the supervisors "designated Road Superintendent Glenn Martin as agent to complete forms for the purpose of obtaining financial assistance from FEMA for damage from the Tropical Storm Lee disaster."

Martin explained that FEMA will provide financial assistance to repair bridges and roads "to the existing conditions before the storm."

Upgrades and improvements are not covered. Agency funds will kick in only after insurance monies are exhausted.

In other budget categories, although there are no projected increases in salaries, supervisors expect that workers’ compensation insurance premiums will increase dramatically because of two claims this year. The two road workers were each off the township payroll and on workers’ comp for a number of weeks this year.

The "workers’ comp (insurance company) had considered dropping us. They will keep us in the pool, but our rates will go up," Snavely said.

"It really irritates me," said Supervisor Rodney May. "You pay your premiums year after year, and then when you have a claim, the rates go up."

The proposed budget is available for public viewing at the municipal office during regular business hours.

At last week’s regular supervisors’ meeting, it was noted that bridges on three township roads were severely damaged during Tropical Storm Lee. They are on Old Pike Road, Segloch Road and Elser Hill Road. The Fox Road culvert was also damaged. Route 322, a PennDOT highway, was also damaged at the bridge near Pumping Station Road, the scene of dramatic rescues as well as a tragic death.

The Brickerville Fire Company reported 64 fire calls, 45 ambulance calls and 28 fire police incidents in September, most related to the storm.

Other roads damaged in the storm were Pumping Station Road, Snavely Mill Road, Loop Road, Zartman Mill Road, Evans Road, Reifsnyder Road and Lake View Drive. Old Pike Road remains closed.

The road superintendent noted that a number of road barricades are missing after the storm. They may be returned to the municipal building with no questions asked.

State Police Corporal Neil Greener reported 51 police calls in Elizabeth Township between Sept. 1 and Oct. 10.

Only one bid was received for a proposed bathroom facility at the Elizabeth Township Park. Modern Precast Concrete was awarded the job for $75,900.

The Lancaster County Career and Technology Center Commercial Construction Enterprise will construct the park pavilion and install the precast bathroom at a cost not to exceed $20,104. No concrete is included in that price. The project should be completed within five months of start-up.

Residents on portions of Hickory Drive will receive new addresses before the end of the year. The fire chief requested the number changes to make the addresses sequential to help emergency personnel find the correct homes in times of need.

A resident noted that some properties in the township are beginning to look like junk yards. The supervisors discussed doing a general inspection for potential zoning violations that should be addressed.

Resident Gordon Wagner asked about police protection in the township. Supervisor Jeff Burkholder answered that the township will continue to use the services of the state police. Joining the local regional police is not being considered at this time.

Trick or Treat night will be on Monday, Oct. 31, from 6 until 8 p.m. The date and time are the same throughout the county.

The next regular supervisors’ meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at the municipal building on South View Drive. More ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP, page A11

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