He told commissioners most residents think they already do pay a township real estate tax.
As for the cost of that tax, the manager said he has to pays $120-a-year tax just for a streetlight in his neighborhood.
Money generated by the new property tax would be used solely for capital projects. Fosselman said the township’s capital project fund has a $1.6 million deficit. The .33-mill increase he proposes would generate $1.05 million.
He said the township had a $5-million fund balance at the start of this year, down from $8.6 million in 2008. He said Lower Macungie has been dipping into that balance over the last 5-10 years to help pay off capital projects.
He explained the township now wants to maintain a reserve fund balance of at least $3.9 million – 20 percent of its total budget.
He told commissioners that money should not be used to balance the capital projects fund deficit.
“We can’t be dipping into the reserves too much,” he said, adding if the township needs to replace just one bridge or repair one sinkhole, it will have to dip into that reserve fund.
“If we’re going to have a community we’re proud of, we should invest in it,” said Fosselman. ”We’re investing in our future.”
Echoed Eichenberg: “This is not an easy decision but, as leaders of the community, it’s up to us to make the tough decisions and plan for the future.”
Septic system inspection program coming
Also during the meeting, officials surprised 63-year-old Guy Bieber, Lower Macungie’s sewage enforcement officer, by honoring him for his 40 years of dedicated service as a township employee.
In October, commissioners will discuss and vote on a proposed septic system management program that is set to begin in January. Their final vote probably will be Oct. 17.
Bieber, who thought he was going to the township meeting to give a presentation about that state-mandated program, told commissioners Lower Macungie has 972 properties with on-lot sewer systems.
Under the new township law, those systems will have to be pumped out and inspected once every five years.
Bieber wants public forums to explain the new program to residents before it begins in January
The program is designed to make sure on-lot systems are properly operated and maintained, to prevent failures that can threaten human health and the environment.
Township Engineer William Erdman said such systems often can be repaired for hundreds of dollars “at most” and it costs about $300 to have them pumped out every five years.
But he warned people can be forced to spend $30,000 to $40,000 to replace systems that fail. “It’s saving people cost in the long run.”
Companies that pump out septic systems will submit reports to the township about any problems observed, which will prompt Bieber to go out and inspect those systems. He also will inspect systems if a homeowner asks him for advice or if he gets complaints about a malfunctioning system.
Police study complete
On another subject, it was announced that a special public meeting about the feasibility of establishing a township police department will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the township community center, next to the municipal building.