Lower Saucon property owners would see their municipal tax slightly increase for the first time in five years under the proposed 2013 township budget.

Under the $6.8 million preliminary budget okayed by Township Council this month, the municipal portion of the property tax bill would climb slightly from 4.14 mils to 4.39 mils. The tax rate of 4.14 mills had been in place since 2008.

The proposed increase would amount to about $25 on a home assessed at $100,000, setting the total municipal tax payment at $439 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The budget will be considered for final adoption by council following a Dec. 19 hearing.

The tax increase is to cover the purchase of fire equipment, according to the preliminary budget, which can be viewed on the Lower Saucon Township web site at www.lowersaucontownship.org/pdf/2013pbudget.pdf.

The preliminary budget summary notes that about 65 percent of the budget covers fixed expenses, including employee salaries and benefits, insurance, utilities and library contribution.

Capital improvements in the preliminary budget include replacement of the main township building front door, cleaning out of the basement at Seidersville Hall and installing an exhaust fan in the Armory.

There is no increase in council members’ compensation under the preliminary budget.

The preliminary budget’s contingencies amount is set at $698,642. Work intended for 2013 would include: upgrading Steel City Park; pavilion installation at Polk Valley Park; repainting of Lutz Franklin School House; and work and repairs needed at the main township building and Seidersville Hall to become energy efficient.