SALISBURY TWP., Pa. – During its first official review of the 2022 annual budget Thursday evening, Salisbury Township's Board of Commissioners were presented with a proposed 20% property tax increase.
The potential hike is largely attributed to increased payroll costs for police and the setting aside of $318,000 annually in the next decade for capital improvements.
Salisbury Finance Director Paul Ziegenfus explained to the board the increase would be half a mill in total, raising the current rate from 2.42 to 2.92 mills. This translates to an increase of $120 annually based upon the average home assessed at $235,000 in the township.
Zeigenfus said half the increase would be used to hire two new police officers and also replace a sergeant's opening vacated by current police Chief Kevin Soberick when he was promoted several years ago. The hike would also fund police salary increases resulting from the new collective bargaining agreement struck between the township and the police union.
Ziegenfus added the remainder of the tax hike would be set aside for future capital improvement projects and township equipment purchases for which Salisbury is already spending between $600,000 to $700,000 annually. The proposed savings initiative affords a 10-year plan for saving $300,000 for a budgeted $700,000 annually for the next decade.
Currently, Salisbury has $1.5 million in the bank on reserve for capital expenses.
Predicted expenditures include police vehicle replacements, heating and air conditioning system replacements and upgrades in various township buildings, public works equipment purchases and repairs, and park improvements.
Ziegenfus pointed out that while there will be no increase in sewer or garbage collection rates for 2022, water bills will increase by 35 cents per 1,000 gallons of water consumed. For a family of four using 20,000 gallons of water every quarter, the hike will amount to a $7 increase every three months or $28 yearly.
In upcoming meetings and workshops, the commissioners will continue to review various aspects of the budget and will be expected to approve it fully by the end of the year after it is advertised to and inspected by the public.