Home Local News After 475 percent tax hike, residents plan protest in Kennett Township

After 475 percent tax hike, residents plan protest in Kennett Township

13
0
SHARE




KENNETT TOWNSHIP >> After being hit with a 475 percent increase in property taxes this year, a group of Kennett Township residents plans to petition supervisors to rescind the tax increase, and put a lid on future spending.

The 2018 budget includes a whopping $1.5 million for emergency services, much of which goes to a recently formed, beefed-up police department that provides around-the-clock protection. Supervisors earlier this year raised taxes to 2.3 mills, from .4 mills, which will generate enough revenue to cover the emergency services costs. One mill is equal to $1 in property tax, which is levied per every $1,000 of a property’s determined taxable value.

“The police aren’t the only issue,” said Phyllis Recca, a township resident. “Spending is out of control. Costs have completely skyrocketed. Right now, the supervisors can add three mills without residents’ voting, and that is outrageous.”

Supervisor Richard Leff said municipalities that have a police department in addition to other emergency services often have an emergency services tax, which Kennett Township did not have until this year.


Advertisement

“Over the past nine years the township has been paying for emergency services out of the reserves built up after an earned income tax was enacted in 1998,” Leff said. “In fact, four years ago the previous board of supervisors lowered the property tax rate, resulting in a more rapid depletion of those reserves. By 2017, our reserves reached the point where our auditor felt that they should not go any lower Therefore, the board of supervisors determined that we should finally fund our emergency services with a dedicated tax starting in 2018.”

The total tax bill for an average household in Kennett Township is now about $930 per year, which Leff said was in line with other municipalities in the area.

Supervisors said funding a police department is a quality of life issue, and since it went to a full-time service, officials have heard nothing but rave reviews by residents. The Kennett Township Police Department consists of eight full-time officers and two part-time officers serving Kennett Township 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

“The simple fact is that, for 2018, the costs for all of the full-time emergency services for Kennett Township will be almost $1.6 million,” Leff said. “This may sound like a lot, but it works out to about $15/month per resident – a modest fee considering the level of coverage. In prior years, our costs were lower primarily because our police force was not yet up to full strength, and, as I already indicated, we were still comfortably able to cover these out of our reserves and thus could delay a tax increase.”

Recca said she will be bringing spreadsheets to the meeting, and will issue handouts that detail what she terms “out of control” spending based on 2017 audit actuals. She said open space is a separate issue. The open-space issue came to a head last meeting after supervisors decided to borrow $3.25 million to purchase a 103-acre parcel of open land that would be preserved and made open to the public.

For their part, supervisors are committed to being transparent. All financial transactions are publicly displayed on the township website (http://www.kennett.pa.us/159/Finance-Billing). And the board regularly accepts public comment at public meetings, held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Residents can even watch live or view minutes and video recordings of meetings (http://www.kennett.pa.us/150/Board-of-Supervisors).

The Kennett Township meeting will take place at 7 p.m. April 18 at the township building at 800 Burrows Run Road.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here