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Upper Milford: No Tax Hike, Yes to Library Funds

Upper Milford supervisors approve a 2013 budget with no tax increase.

Upper Milford supervisors passed a $2.2 million spending plan Thursday that includes 2 percent raises for the township's 13 employees and money for the Emmaus Public Library.

The millage rate will drop from .5 mills to .171 mills, which is adjusted to bring in the same amount of revenue for the township following the reassessment by Lehigh County. 

Supervisor Chairman Daniel Mohr pointed out that some residents will see their property taxes rise in 2013 and others will see them drop depending on their new county assessment. 

At .171 mills, a homeowner with property assessed at $100,000 would pay $17 in property taxes. Township Manager Dan DeLong said the average homeowner pays about $40 a year.

Property taxes only raise about $126,000 for the township. Upper Milford gets the bulk of its revenue -- $1.1 million -- from the .5 percent earned income tax it levies, DeLong said. 

The township street light assessment will increase about $5 per assessed property, DeLong said. Not every property pays the streetlight fee -- only those that have streetlights in their developments. 

Fire and ambulance companies will get a 5 percent hike in funding and about $519,000 will go to road work, including many road resurfacing projects. 

The budget and tax rate were passed by the supervisors unanimously, the only split coming in a later vote on the township's agreement with the Emmaus Public Library. The supervisors agreed to pay the library $37,678 that will enable Upper Milford residents to use the Emmaus library as their home library.

Residents need a home library to get an Access Pennsylvania sticker on their library cards that allows them to use any public library in Pennsylvania. 

But Supervisor Robert Sentner said he was a "no" vote because he believes public libraries should be funded on a state level. 

"I am 100 percent for the library," Sentner said. "I'm against the funding mechanism." 

In the past few years, library funding has been a bone of contention after the township cut about for $46,776 for the 2011 budget. It later restored $5,000 in the final spending plan. 

At the request of an Upper Milford resident, Emmaus Public Library Director Frances Larash evaluated how much township residents use the library and found that they account for 18.3 percent of the total borrowers. Larash said that did not take into account all the other services township residents use, such as storytimes for kids and the ability to walk into the library to sit and read a magazine or use computers. 

An interested bystander December 28, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Did funding for UMYA get put back into the budget?
Robert Sentner December 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Just like last year, all cultural donations were cut.
An interested bystander December 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Ah shoot. Ok, thanks.
Robert Sentner December 28, 2012 at 07:39 PM
anything that the supervisors can do for UMYA just ask, a great organization, with terrific leaders and a huge asset to our community. Thanks for everything you do for our young people.

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