LOWER MORELAND — Municipal taxes will jump $130 next year for the average township homeowner as part of the approved budget for 2019.

The board of commissioners authorized an increase in mills from 4.183 to 4.803 – a 13 percent jump. Under the current millage rate of 4.183 mill, a resident with a home assessed at the township average of $210,000 paid $878.43 in real estate taxes in 2018. That amount rises to $1,008.63 under the newly approved millage rate for 2019.

One mill is equivalent to $1 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

Township Manager Chris Hoffman said the tax increase is being driven by two things – the need to meet contractual obligations tied to salary, benefits and pension expenses, as well as the hiring of three new police officers for the township.

Hoffman said the new officers are being added to enhance the township’s focus on proactive community policing and address minimum staffing considerations.

Police department expenses in the approved budget show an increase from $3.8 million in 2018 to $4.2 million in 2019, with a majority of the increase reflected in officer payroll and benefits. Total public safety expenses – which includes those tied to police, fire marshal/EMS and code enforcement/zoning – jump from the $4.2 million to $4.6 million next year.

The board of commissioners approved the 2019 budget Dec. 11.

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