Supervisors plan for the future with small tax hike in 2013 budget

Author: , WFMZ.com Reporter
Published: Dec 12 2012 11:05:46 PM EST
WILLIAMS TWP., Pa. -

Property owners in Williams Twp. will be paying a bit more in taxes in 2013, and officials say the extra revenue will give the municipality some much-needed financial breathing room.

The quarter-mill increase, which will raise about $57,000 and bring the tax rate to 2.5 mills, was adopted Wednesday night on a 2-0 vote, as was the proposed $2.5 million budget for 2013.

"The increase is needed to build a reserve fund so we won't be living paycheck to paycheck," supervisors chairman George Washburn explained before he and supervisors vice chairman Vincent Foglia approved the new rate. Supervisor Sally Hixon did not attend the meeting because she is on vacation.

A homeowner with a home assessed at $100,000 will pay an extra $250 in 2013, $25 more than this year.

Without the tax increase, the township faced a $75,000 budget hole, in part because of the economy and less revenue than expected from the Chrin Brothers Sanitary Landfill.

Before setting the new millage rate, Washburn noted that property taxes were raised by a quarter-mill in 2012 to start a capital improvements fund. The roads were in need of repair, and the township was able to do it, Washburn pointed out.

Washburn also praised the work of the township's five-member budget advisory committee, which was established in 2010. "They did as fine a job as any committee has done," Washburn said.

"And three of them quit!" Foglia cracked, referring to the fact that those members' terms are up and they asked not to be reappointed.

Anyone interested in working on the committee should contact township manager Jennifer Smethers, Washburn said.

In other business, Patricia Graves, of 828 Williams St., Easton, asked the supervisors if something could be done about the cannons being fired at the Chrin landfill intermittently throughout the day to keep birds away.

Graves, who lives about two miles from the landfill, said she is a health-care worker who works the night shift and the cannon fire disturbs her sleep. "I'm entitled to some peace in my own home," she said.

Washburn said Chrin is using the cannons "to eliminate a health issue," adding that landfill officials are investigating hiring a falconer so they won't have to use the cannons.

"I live right above the landfill, and I don't even hear it [the cannon fire] any more," he told Graves.

"Well, I've talked to someone with post traumatic stress syndrome who said it brings him right back to Vietnam," Graves replied.

Township resident Kathy Lilley, of 10 Schuler Lane, said the supervisors should deal with Graves' complaint by enforcing the township's nuisance ordinance. Lilley described the birds as "pathogen-carrying vectors" -- organisms that spread disease. "Enforce the nuisance ordinance," she implored. "Please do something!"

The supervisors approved the hiring of Harrisburg-based Gannett Fleming Consultants to do two studies -- one about the feasibility of having a single trash hauler for the township, and another on the best way to deal with yard waste disposal.

Smethers said the studies will cost $7,500 each, and the state Department of Environmental Protection will pay for both.

Washburn announced that the supervisors meeting next month will be folded into the annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 7.