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Buffalo Township real estate taxes to rise by almost 30%

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 12:32 a.m.

Real estate taxes will rise by nearly 30 percent in Buffalo Township next year.

Supervisors on Wednesday night approved a budget of $1.93 million that includes a 1-mill real estate tax increase, from 3.38 mills to 4.38 mills. That's an increase of 29.5 percent.

Officials said it is the first time the millage rate has been raised since the 1990s.

Next year's budget is about $200,000 more than this year's.

The largest expenditure is $355,000 for police wages.

One mill of real estate tax is equal to about $40,000 of revenue.

The tax hike passed 3-2, with supervisors Chairman John Haven and Supervisors Ron Zampogna and Matthew Sweeny approving. Supervisors Albert Roenigk and Gary Risch Jr. voted against the increase.

“We are providing 21st-century services with 1990s revenue,” Haven said. “We need a cushion right now.”

Risch believes the township is spending too much on the Butler-Freeport Trail, such as using township public works employees and equipment to maintain the recreation trail.

Other officials estimated about $3,000 is spent annually on the trail.

Solicitor Larry Lutz said fees and interest payments for tax-anticipation notes and short-term loans add up.

Residents suggested imposing an amusement tax for Lernerville Speedway, golf courses and other activities.

Lutz said state law prohibits municipalities from imposing amusement-tax fees on movie theaters.

“Amusement taxes are hard to enforce,” Lutz said. “Collection costs can add up.”

Ekastown Road limit to stay 55 mph

The speed limit on Ekastown Road won't be lowered to 45 mph in light of a recent study.

PennDOT Acting Maintenance Engineer Courtney E. Snyder said lowering the speed limit from 55 to 45 is not justified.

An intersection warning sign, however, will be installed near Obringer Lane to raise driver awareness by the end of December.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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