Taxpayers in Richland Township can now breathe a sigh of relief, after the board of supervisors unanimously approved a 2012 tax rate that remains unchanged since the mid-1990s.
In their Wednesday meeting, the supervisors officially adopted the 2012 budget, as well as established the 2012 real estate tax rate at 2.75 mills. The last time the township saw a tax increase was in 1996, when the rate was raised .5 mill.
“Richland is a very pragmatic community,” said township Manager Dean Bastianini. “We live within our means. I think they’re [the supervisors] very conservative in their financial practices, and they don’t spend money they don’t have. So we live within our means.”
At the rate of 2.75 mills, a home valued at $100,000 would owe $275. Taxpayers with a home valued at the township median of $121,050 would pay $332.89 for the year.
The total budget for 2012 is $11.9 million, a $790,000 increase from last year. The major part of the budget is for public safety, highways, and parks and recreation, said Bastianini.
The board unanimously voted to increase public works and administration salaries by 3 percent.
In addition, the board also created a new fee schedule that would raise fees for field rentals and usage. Representatives from Richland lacrosse, youth football, and church softball teams vehemently protested the increase in fees, which are meant to cover 100 percent of the expenses the township incurs for upkeep of the fields.
“The proposed fees were pretty significant increases,” said Bastianini. “They haven’t been increased in this magnitude in a long time.”
The board decided to take a closer look at this stipulation and tabled the discussion for January.
“I think the board was wise to table it and look at this again to see if there is a way to make it work,” said Bastianini. “Maybe there could be some shifting of responsibilities for maintenance which would enable the fees to be lower. Or maybe they stagger them in installments.”