Supervisors in one Lehigh County township are closing in on a quarter-century without a property tax increase.
Upper Saucon Township supervisors adopted a tentative 2014 budget Monday night that again holds the line on property taxes, despite expenditures being about 1.6 percent higher than this year.
The only question from the supervisors, before the unanimous vote, was directed at township manager Thomas Beil, who was asked if any changes had been made to the $19.975 million spending plan presented on Nov 12. Beil assured them there weren't any.
Adoption of the budget, with its 1.3691 millage rate, is set for Dec. 23.
After the meeting, Beil told WFMZ.com that the last time property taxes were raised was 1989.
The budget calls for $1.1 million to be spent on road improvements and maintenance projects and another $1.1 million on improvements to the sewer collection system.
Other expenditures include $600,000 for the sewer disposal system improvements; $500,000 on water system improvements; $154,000 for a backhoe; $82,000 for a small dump truck; $67,000 for two police vehicles; $85,000 for rail to trail improvements, and $60,000 for new parks planning.
In other business, the supervisors agreed to enter into negotiations with Verizon on an agreement that would allow the company to erect a 120-foot tower and an equipment shelter building between three storage bins and a public works building on township property on Camp Meeting Road.
The Verizon request came from the Pittsburgh-based Cohen Law Group, said Beil, adding that negotiations could start early next month.
Beil said he didn't see any downside to leasing the site to Verizon. "It should have no impact on the residents living nearby," Beil said.
Still, he added, the township should send letters to the residents to let them know about the proposed project and address their concerns, if there are any.
A Verizon representative said a tower is needed at that location because of heavy demand along the Route 309 corridor. "College students are a big drain on the [current] system," she said.
The request for a new cell phone tower on township-owned land is the second this year.
In July, AT&T asked to build a 150-foot cell tower at a former school bus depot at 3274 Preston Lane, across the street from Upper Saucon Township Community Park and adjacent to the Southern Lehigh Public Library.
Supervisors expressed concern with the tower being so close to the park and the visual impact the tower could have on the aesthetics of the Preston Lane corridor.
The supervisors also asked AT&T to consider scaling back the tower's height to 125 feet.
The supervisors announced the cancellation of their Dec. 9 meeting "due to lack of agenda items."