East Marlborough OKs budget with slight increase in fire tax
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
The 2015 budget for East Marlborough Township had smooth sailing on Monday night, as the board of supervisors voted to accept the budget as proposed.
Township manager Jane Laslo presented the budget to the board in draft form in November.
"There are no changes," Laslo told the board at Monday night's meeting. "The real estate tax will remain the same, at 1.05. Library and open space taxes will each remain the same. The library is .183 and open space is .2. The only thing that changes with the 2015 budget is the fire tax, which will be increased from .65 to .75 mills, and that will yield about $512,000," Laslo said. "The general fund expense budget is just over $2 million."
The real estate tax of 1.05 mills will bring in an estimated $717,213, the open space tax will bring in $136,612, and the library tax will bring in $124,999.
There was no public comment or input on the budget, although the board did discuss how Po-Mar-Lin, in particular, funds its services.
As approved by the supervisors, the new fire tax rate of .75 mills will bring in $512,956. In 2013, the fire tax brought in $334,000, and in 2014, it brought in $452,000. The funds are used to support the Longwood Fire Company and the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company, which is all-volunteer. The company serves Pocopson, East and West Marlborough and Newlin Township.
"If our other three townships were as cooperative as East Marlborough, there wouldn't be any issues," said John Weer, who spoke on behalf of the fire company at the meeting.
"I can see the demand for our services is leaning towards getting a career person, or at least paid people," Weer continued. "At Po-Mar-Lin, we're trying desperately to not have that happen, but once it happens, you're looking at $100,000 a year, per person."
Board president Cuyler Walker acknowledged the work of the company and thanked its members.
"The board of supers recognizes that the residents of the township get an enormous benefit at no cost to them because of the willingness of your members to volunteer their time," Walker said. "The real costs of providing fire service are not being paid by the recipients of that service because we're so fortunate to have volunteers. We recognize that if that doesn't continue in the future, we'll have to come to terms with the fact that the service is going to require real dollars to fund."
Po-Mar-Lin uses the proceeds from the fire tax only to purchase fire equipment, Weer explained. General expenses are paid for by fundraisers and donations.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.