Franklin Township budget includes no tax increase12/14/2015 09:54AM ● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
The Franklin Township Board of Supervisors will vote on adopting the 2016 township budget on Dec. 16, marking the second year in a row in which the real estate tax has been reduced by 10 percent.
That's the kind of people-pleasing budget that doesn't come about without rigorous work behind the scenes.
The combined budget expenditures total $2,599,162. The total millage rate remains at 2.495 percent. With a total cash and proposed income of $2,912,023.30, that leaves a 2016 cash balance of $312,861.30.
John Auerbach, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, credited his fellow supervisors and township staff with arriving at a budget that won't stir up any controversy.
“This was accomplished using rigorous cost control measures and examining every major expense to ensure it achieves maximum value,” Auerbach said last week. “One of the components of the system is a weekly meeting in which two alternating supervisors meet with the township staff and contractor to review proposed spending for the following week.
“For the 2016 budget, we were able to find the equivalent of a 5 percent tax reduction. Because this budget is tight, we decided to defer the tax reduction and place the funds in a reserve account,” Auerbach said. “We also recognized that to identify opportunities for further savings, a much more intensive review of discrete spending items will be required.”
Auerbach said the township will be performing a benchmark study to compare Franklin to neighboring townships; and developing a method of rating each expense item based on how strongly it contributes to what he called “core functions.”
“Just comparing tax rates with neighboring townships can identify the numerical differences, high or low, but does not provide information to make improvements,” he said. “The benchmark study is expected to provide information that is actionable. The township provides four core functions: Road maintenance, emergency services, traffic safety, and land development/planning. The objective is to develop a scoring system that will value each expense item against its contribution to the core functions. This will not be a minor effort. Once completed, expenses can be sorted by value and the lower value expenses can be reduced or eliminated.”
The supervisors will meet on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Township Municipal Office (30 Municipal Lane, Kemblesville). The budget is posted on the township website (www.franklintownship.us).
Auerbach said the board “is dedicated to keeping township taxes as low as possible by maximizing the value of every dollar we spend. We will continue to be fiscally responsible with the public’s money while ensuring that the township delivers its core function in an efficient way.”
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchamb[email protected].