EAST FRANKLIN – The 39 customers of the residential community of Fox Hollow in East Franklin Township will be seeing an increase in their sewage bill in 2018.
Supervisors agreed on a tentative budget that raises the Fox Hollow customers from $55 per month to $61 per month – the amount now being paid by the 2020 customers in Adrian, Cowansville, and Tarrtown.
Township Secretary Debra Cornman described the reason Fox Hollow residents were paying less than the other three communities.
“Fox Hollow was a plant that was already established. The (developer) that had it could not afford to keep it going. They wanted to give up that plant. Through the township code, it states that anyone who has a sewage plant, the township has to take it over.”
The township was paid $24,000 to assume the obligations of the Fox Hollow plant. Sewage bills were not increased because of the revenue.
Even with the $2,400 increase, Cornman said the sewage budget is always “in the hole”.
“Sewage has always been not funding itself because of the cost of debt service that we have (with the other three plants). General Fund picks up the difference.”
Cornman said supervisors have already planned for the deficit of $22,000 in the sewage budget and compensated for it in the proposed 2018 general budget, which she said comes out with a $12,000 surplus.
There will be no tax increase in 2018, even though revenue income is not projected to change from 2017.
2017 saw many expenditures that depleted the general fund, including $114,000 that was spent on the purchase of a new SUV police vehicle, a truck, and a track loader.
Supervisors removed the line item for a second police officer.
Cornman said she has tried to apply any excess revenue to pay off the $1.4 million mortgage on the municipal building, which was borrowed in 2014. The 25-year loan will be paid off within 12 years.
“Building fund – I put an extra $100,000 towards (it) to try to pay this off. This was a 25-year loan. We have paid on it three years and only have nine years to go. We had a balloon payment at the end – we got the balloon payment gone. Hopefully we will be able to put some extra money down on (the loan again this year) and get that paid within four or five years.”
Cornman said the balance of the $1.4 million mortgage is down to $971,000.
Raises have not been accounted for in the 2018 budget. Cornman said any salary increases are normally done at the reorganizational meeting in January following the November election.
“Insurance did go up some. Workman’s Comp is the part that went up. The fire department’s (Comp) went up $6,000 and the township’s (Comp) went up $4,000.”
Cornman said money from the Commonwealth will mean more road paving in 2018.
“We’re going to get $6,600 more than we did last year. We basically are going to do the same thing we did this year. We are going to pave some roads and do some sealcoat on the roads.”
Act 13 has provided income to the township from gas wells. Since it began in 2012, East Franklin has received a total of $425,854.50. It can be allocated towards construction of roads and bridges, sewer system maintenance, and enhancements to parks and recreation.
“This year, we got $56,097.95. $30,000 is going toward the sewage and then parks and recreation will get the other $26,000.”
Cornman said the money to build a new ball field at Heritage Park that was approved by supervisors at their October public meeting will be paid for through Act 13 fund allocation of $26,000.
“And we have $4,000 in the park fund. So we have about $30,000 to work to build the ball field.”
The tentative budget is available for inspection at the township office during regular business hours. The supervisors will adopt the budget at their next public meeting on November 30.