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Buffalo Township local services tax increased

| Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

Come Jan. 1, each worker in Buffalo Township will begin to pay a $52 annual local services tax — an increase of more than 70 percent over the current $30 yearly fee.

Anyone who works in Buffalo Township, regardless of place of residence, pays the fee.

It helps pay for township police and fire services.

The increase will generate about $40,000 to $44,000, minus a 1.8 percent cut for the tax collector, supervisors chairman John Haven said.

What's more, the local services tax hike means a general tax increase likely won't even be discussed, Haven said.

"That's the reason we voted for the LST — to take (the burden) off the taxpayers so the taxpayers don't have to pay," Haven said.

Buffalo Township employers collect the fee from workers' pay. Then the money filters through the township's tax collector and to the township.

When Buffalo Township residents work in other municipalities, they pay the fee to that locality, Haven said, and that should work in reverse, too.

Of the $52, which is the state's maximum amount, $47 goes to the township and $5 to the school district.

"Right now, we're taking money from our general account and general funds to give the fire and the police money for their services," Haven said. "That's to include fuel and taking care of the equipment."

Supervisors approved the tax last week.

Greg Furer was the lone supervisor to vote against the measure. Supervisor Dan Przybylek was absent from the vote.

"I don't believe in raising ... taxes and, two-fold, I always have been fundamentally opposed to that tax," Furer said. "I've never believed in taxing people for the right to work."

Anyone who earns less than $12,000 yearly is exempt from the tax.

"I think it's a win-win for Buffalo Township," Haven said, "because it's going to help us out by not taking the money from the general fund, and it will help the police and the fire (department)."

Plus, Haven said, the hike is small — only about the cost of a large pizza.

"Two dollars a month, let's be honest," he said. "It's not going to impoverish anybody."

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