EAST ROCKHILL — Sewer rates won't be going up next year after all.

During budget discussions in September and October, township officials said they expected to be  hiking sewer bills because of an increase in what the township will be paying Pennridge Wastewater Treatment Authority for sewer services.

“There's no increase to real estate millage, street light assessment or sewer rate,” Township Manager Marianne Morano said as the proposed 2020 budget was officially presented at the Nov. 26 East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

“Originally, we  thought there would be a sewer rate increase,” she said. “On a closer look at the PWTA budget, it wasn't as much of an increase as anticipated, so that is no longer in the budget.”

The township had previously said there would not be a tax hike. 

With no change, the township property tax rate remains at 12.235 mills, equaling a $489.40 bill on a home assessed at $40,000. Each mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed property value. Sewer bills remain at $130 per quarter year — $520 per year — for residential users and $145 per quarter year — $580 per year — for non-residential users.

The proposed budget includes mandated work to document stormwater basins and outfalls, $150,000 for the legal battles over Rockhill Quarry, replacing security cameras at the yard waste drop-off, replacing a 2001 one-ton dump truck, overlaying Sterner Mill Road from Mountain View Drive to Clymer Road, continuing to have 24/7 coverage by Pennridge Regional Police Department, and replacing signs at the municipal complex and Willard H. Markey Centennial Park, Morano said.

Bids for renovations and an addition to the municipal building were also approved at the November meeting, but the money for that is coming from reserves and a loan, so there was no need to increase taxes, township officials said.

The proposed budget totals $4,094,912, with $2,008,925 of general fund revenues and expenses. Income includes a budgeted $625,200 from township real estate taxes, $850,000 from the earned income tax, $102,000 from the real estate transfer tax, and $122,000 from the cable television franchise fee.

The 12.235 mill property tax rate includes 8.725 mills for the general fund, one mill for the fire fund, 1.26 mills for the building debt fund, and 1.25 mills for the capital improvement fund.

The final budget vote is scheduled for the board's December meeting, which will be Thursday, Dec. 19.

In other matters at the November meeting:

• The East Rockhill board approved a resolution recognizing Don Duvall for his 18 years as a West Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors member and thanking him for his support of inter-municipal cooperation between the two neighboring towns and efforts to reach compromises when there was not agreement. 

• The township, which recently bought about four acres along Schwenkmill Road, had previously set aside a five-acre portion that is beside the municipal complex and also in Markey Park, with that land designated to be used for municipal use, Morano said. She asked if the board now wanted to consider changing those five acres to, instead, being designated for future park use.

“I actually would hold off,” said board member Jim Nietupski, who said there had been talk of the possibility of putting a recycling center on the land beside the municipal complex.

“I don't see any advantage of moving forward and taking it out of the reserved five acres,” he said.

“Why would you put a recycling center in an area that you'd have to drive through a public park to access?” asked board member Dave Nyman.

“This way you could have a recycling center right off of Schwenkmill Road,” he said.

In answer to Nietupski's question, Patrick Armstrong, township solicitor, said the motion being discussed was not a final vote on the matter, but approval of it would tell Armstrong and Morano to begin the process for the board to in the future make the change.

The motion was approved with Nyman and board Chairman Gary Volovnik voting for it and Nietupski voting against it.    

    

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