At the regular commissioners meeting following that committee meeting, Conrad announced there was consensus among the four commissioners "that we should continue to pursue this."

After the meeting, Somach said he is confident all five commissioners will support implementing the homestead exclusion program.

Conrad said other first-class townships have had successful homestead programs for years.

Because Lower Macungie's property tax -- the first since 2012 -- is low, Conrad and Somach agreed the amount of actual savings will not be very much. But Conrad said it shows commissioners are doing what they can to try to reduce people's tax burden.

Somach recommended commissioners adopt an ordinance if they want to implement a Lower Macungie homestead property exclusion program, then renew it on an annual basis by resolution.

Township officials said a homestead law also would allow Lower Macungie to reduce the amount of the exclusion in any given year, as an alternative to raising the property tax if more tax revenue would be needed.

Somach credited Commissioner Ron Beitler, who began his term in January, with bringing the homestead exclusion idea to the attention of township officials.

After the meeting, Beitler said he hopes all five commissioners will support an exclusion program, adding: "I think it's a no-brainer."

Beitler noted Pennsylvania does not allow municipalities to tax commercial properties one way and residential properties another way.

"This ends up being a way around that," said Beitler, later adding: "That's the beauty of it."

Beitler argued that commercial and industrial property owners should pay their fair share. As an example, he cited wear-and-tear caused to township roads by tractor-trailers servicing warehouses. He claimed one fully-loaded tractor trailer has the same impact on a township road as 300 cars.

Homeowners would have to apply to get a homestead exemption.

Somach said East Penn School District already has such a homestead program and that more than 80 percent of Lower Macungie homeowners already have qualified to get a homestead exemption with the school district.

Paying property tax with a credit card

In another property tax issue, commissioners unanimously approved allowing Lower Macungie property owners to use credit cards, debit cards or e-checks to pay their township property tax to tax collector Patricia Vassilaros.

But those who do so also must pay the tax collector any additional surcharges for the use of those credit cards, debit cards or e-checks.

"If you want the convenience of using a debit card or credit card, you'll pay for the convenience," said Somach.

Somach said those surcharges were his only concern about people paying by credit card. "If the tax is $100 and there's a four percent fee, we would only get $96. If everybody paid with their credit cards, at the end of the year we'd be four percent short on our budget."

Somach said that surcharge is 2.39 percent on credit cards such as VISA or Master Card, $2.95 per debit card transaction and 75 cents for e-checks.

False alarm ordinance working

On a different issue, Somach reported the township's latest enforcement of its new false alarm ordinance earned it a $150 fine from a resident and $300 from a business this week.

The ordinance is designed to reduce the risks inherent in the township's firefighters responding to too many false alarms.

And it is working, reported township code enforcement office Ben Galiardo. He said the number of false alarms has declined since the new false alarm ordinance was established last July.

Galiardo said about $7,000 in fines has been collected since July, adding all that money goes to the Lower Macungie Fire Department.

He reported about 75 percent of false alarms emanate from businesses and the other 25 percent from residences.