The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted to advertise an $11 million budget that would leave the municipality with approximately $820,000 in its fund balance. The budget does not increase municipal property taxes for residents.
The budget has been revised from a version presented earlier this month. An $11 million budget that was presented on Nov. 14 would have left the township with about $36,000 in reserves.
Township Manager Kurt Ferguson said the budget has been edited to reflect updated tax estimates as well as the sale of a township easement on a cellphone tower. The township will get $550,000 from that sale, he said.
Plus, the revised budget contemplates not replacing the finance director when the current employee retires. “The finance director has submitted her paperwork to retire,” Ferguson explained.
Supervisor Rob Ciervo objected to selling the easement on the cell tower. “It’s a one-time revenue source that we'll get to plug a hole in the budget,” he said. Previously, the township had been getting approximately $42,000 a year by renting the easement.
The board voted to advertise the budget by a 4-1 vote, with Philip Calabro voting against it. He agreed with Ciervo that the sale of the cell tower was not prudent. “We’re putting a Band Aid on a bullet,” he said. “That 550,000 is going to go out the window here in no time.”
However, board Chairman Mike Gallagher disagreed. He said the easement is a “quickly depreciating” asset. “That money is going to be in savings and will not be touched,” he said.
If the budget is approved as drafted, the tax millage for township residents would remain at 2.5 in 2013.
The board will discuss the budget again at its Dec. 5 meeting. A final budget is expected to be passed at the Dec. 19 meeting.