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Five Things to Know About the Emmaus 2013 Budget

Tax rate unchanged but bills rising for water, sewer, trash; taxpayers can view proposed budget in Borough Hall between today and the final budget vote on Dec. 17.

1. The Borough of Emmaus will not increase taxes in 2013, according to the proposed 2013 passed by Borough Council last night.

Beyond that, things are a bit confusing. Right now, the tax rate for the 2013 budget is set at 4.20 mills. However, that rate could change slightly, according to Borough Manager Shane Pepe, depending on how reassessments at the county level play out.

But Budget and Finance Committee Chair Brian Holtzhafer stressed that no matter what happens at the county level, the total amount of tax dollars coming into the borough will remain constant; the millage will simply be adjusted based on the county assessments.

In an attempt to help clarify things, Councilman Brent Labenberg explained that the fact that the borough of Emmaus is not raising taxes does not mean that tax bills for individual property owners in the borough will not rise. Some residents could see an increase, others a decrease, he said. It all depends on the county’s assessment of a given property.

“If your assessment goes up, your bill goes up and that’s not because of us,” Labenberg said.

2. Water bills will go up in 2013.

Last night, council approved, by a 6-0 vote, 2013 water increases from $1.95 to $2.05 per 1,000 gallons. Borough residents also pay a quarterly water meter usage fee, and that, too, will be going up slightly in 2013, from $13.55 to $15 per year or $1.45 per quarter for a standard meter.

That fee increase translates into about a 5 percent increase, according to Holtzhafer, who said that other meter sizes will increase in cost on a similar scale.

3. Sewer bills will go up in 2013.

Increases to sewer rates were approved last night, also by a 6-0 vote, with no discussion. When asked for additional detail on the 2013 sewer rates after the meeting, Holtzhafer said that he could not quote specific numbers, but that the increase was in the neighborhood of 5 percent, similar to the water rate increase.

4. Refuse bills will go up in 2013.

Trash bills will see a slight bump from $306 to $312 per year. That $6 increase will earn residents unlimited use of the borough’s compost facilities, including an ID card that will grant them access to the compost site.

5. The final 2013 budget vote is set for Borough Council’s Dec. 17 meeting at 7 p.m. in Borough Hall.

Taxpayers can review the proposed 2013 budget between now and then in Emmaus Borough Hall.

Councilman Nathan Brown was absent from last night’s meeting.

An interested bystander December 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Did the Borough keep any funding in place for the Emmaus Main Street Partners?
Craig Neely December 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Congratulations to Emmaus Borough Council for the proposed 2013 Budget! Minimal increases in water and sewer rates are a reasonable and well-founded way to raise revenue, especially when you consider the rates as compared to other rates in the Lehigh Valley. Preparing an Emmaus Budget is a delicate balancing act that Council has clearly done successfully for the upcoming fiscal year.
John Doe December 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM
And the 6th item to know (and the most important) is that the Fire Department's budget has been cut $117,000, and this will result in job cuts to a vital service provided. EFD will no longer be staffed around the clock 24/7, a service that has been provided for 17 years. The firefighters will now be responding from home, resulting in valuable time lost for emergency situations. Please come out to the December 17th council meeting and SPEAK UP!

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