Lower Makefield Township to Raise Taxes by 1.24 Mill - an Average of $52 per Year per Household | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Lower Makefield is proceeding with a restructured budget officials say will “reset” township finances, after they learned there was less money in township coffers than previously projected.


The budget calls for a 1.24-mill tax increase, bringing the township’s total millage from 19.01 to 20.25 mills. The increase will hike the municipal tax bill for the owner of a home assessed at Lower Makefield’s average of $42,048 from $799.33 to $851.47 — an approximate $52 increase.


The 2019 budget lists $13 million in general fund expenditures, compared to a projected $12.7 million for 2018.


Each new mill brings the township about $522,304 in new revenue. The proposed 1.24-mill increase is to be divided among 0.44 mills for the township’s debt service fund, 0.28 mills for its general fund, 0.24 mills for its parks and recreation fund, 0.15 mills for its road machinery fund and 0.13 mills for its ambulance fund.


Supervisors added the 0.24 mills for parks and recreation to a proposed 1-mill tax increase before voting to advertise their preliminary 2019 budget at their last meeting in November. The board intends to approve the final 2019 budget at its Dec. 19 meeting.


Lower Makefield Manager Kurt Ferguson [previously Newtown Township Manager; read “Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson Will Take Lower Makefield Township Manager Position in July”], who joined the township in July, told supervisors in October he views the budget as a “reset,” creating positive or neutral balances in multiple funds.


Supervisor Dan Grenier said the auditing firm had a responsibility to accurately report the balances in the township funds and he was “incredibly disappointed” in finding out the general fund balance was different than he had been told.


“You need to know what your financial status is to make appropriate decisions,” he said.


Supervisors Chairman John Lewis said the board is not alleging any illegal or unethical activities in the crafting of previous budgets.


In preparing for the township’s financial future, supervisors also directed Ferguson last month to retain a new auditing firm.


Ferguson said since then he has enlisted Maillie LLP, a firm he described as “good to work with but tough, in that they ask lots of questions and need lots of explanation.” He said the firm likely will have the 2018 audit completed around summer 2019.