Lower Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co. is still is a couple of months away from passing a 2013 budget, but township residents may face an increase in sewer rates.
“We’ll probably be looking at an increase in our sewer bills,” said township manager Bruce Fosselman.
He explained a five to 10 percent increase is being proposed.
“That sounds like a lot of money, but an average homeowner pays about $200 a year for their sewer rates, so this probably will be a $10 to $20 increase in their sewer bills,” Fosselman said.
A preliminary draft of the township’s 2013 budget has been prepared by Lower Macungie’s administrative staff and was distributed to township commissioners at their Thursday night meeting.
Explaining the reason for the proposed increase, Fosselman told commissioners the township is spending thousands of dollars for ongoing work to reduce inflow and infiltration of stormwater and/or groundwater into sanitary sewer lines, which greatly adds to the volume and increases costs of treating sewage carried in those lines.
He said the federal Environmental Protection Agency is requiring that work be done, adding the township could be hit with fines “if we don’t clean things up.”
Fosselamn said the inflow and infiltration work has been going on for many years.
He told commissioners $700,000 was put into the 2012 budget for that work and about $400,000 more is in the proposed 2013 budget.
He said sewer bills last increased in 2010.
Fosselman stressed the good news is, once again, Lower Macungie residents will pay no township property taxes if the preliminary budget is approved. Residents have paid no property taxes to the township since 2003.
Commissioners will begin study the proposed budget at a 7 p.m. workshop next Thursday and other budget workshops are scheduled for Oct. 17 and 30.
Fosselman said the 2013 budget will be up for final passage at the commissioners’ Dec. 6 or Dec. 20 meeting.
“We’ll have some fun in the next two months, gentleman,” Fosselman told commissioners.
Responded Ron Eichenberg, chairman of the commissioners: “You have an odd sense of humor for ‘fun’.”
The proposed budget can be found under “Finance” on the township’s website. It also can be reviewed at the township municipal building.