Dear Halfmoon Township residents,
The Board of Supervisors have been diligently working with the staff to create a budget for 2021 that is lean and does not negatively impact township priorities of public safety and services. With the impact of the pandemic still very real, our area is facing continued layoffs, furloughs, and business closings, resulting in a 22% decrease in earned income tax revenue. The supervisor’s focus over the past ten years has been to hold the line by not increasing taxes which has depleted our reserves and put us in deficit spending.
These factors, in addition to inflation, capital expenditures, and increased services to the residents, have created a need for a larger revenue stream. Recently, there have been two major expenditures; a heavy duty truck and tractor for the public works department and a major upgrade of Autumn Meadow Park. We had some funds set aside for the loans, but because of the lean operating budget, these funds were insufficient to cover the loan payments for the upcoming years.
The board met with staff during the public budget sessions, cutting expenditures wherever possible to put us in the best financial position for 2021. Despite our best efforts, the board still had to make the difficult decision to increase taxes to balance the budget.
Beginning in 2021, there will be a general fund tax increase of 1.67 mils. This increased tax revenue is designed to specifically fund township capital improvements, including the truck and park loan payments.
The fire protection services that support our township, Port Matilda Fire Company and Warriors Mark Fire Company, have been impacted by the lack of funding, increased operating expenses, and decreased volunteerism. Halfmoon Township is committed to continuing as much support as we can offer to these services to keep our residents safe.
As a result, there will be a 1.7 mil special tax levy dedicated solely toward funding these fire protection services. This fire protection tax decreases the general fund obligation by $104,000 in the first year alone, to help fund contracted fire protection services, paid personnel, new equip, and training certifications.
The total impact of these tax increases in the 2021 budget will amount to an average of $100-$380 per year per household in Halfmoon Township, depending on your assessed real estate value.
The Board of Supervisors will be voting on the 2021 budget, including these tax increases, at the Budget Hearing scheduled for December 10, 2020 at 7:00pm. We encourage public comment at this meeting or ahead of the meeting by contacting the township manager, Denise Gembusia via firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the Halfmoon Township Board of Supervisors,
Danelle Del Corso, Chair
Bob Strouse, Vice Chair