At their December 10, 2020 Regular Meeting Schwenksville Borough Council listened to approximately 20 residents provide public comment on the proposed draft 2021 Budget and accompanying Tax Ordinance that was authorized for advertisement and public comment at their November 12th Meeting. The budget total of $1,165,685 includes a General Operating Fund of $648,689.00 and a proposed 1.4 mill tax increase to help fund it. In addition to the comments provided at the Meeting, seven families/individuals submitted written comments in advance of the meeting.
Those present urged Council to reconsider the budget and tax increase they advertised. One concern voiced by multiple people is that families and homeowners are hurting due to lost wages and medical bills relating to the pandemic. Another concern voiced, is that the Perkiomen Valley School District and Montgomery County may also be considering tax increases. Most commentators recognized that the Borough has not increased taxes since 2017, has lost a lot revenue due to the pandemic and has not received relief from the federal government, but asked Borough Council to sharpen their pencils and reduce expenditures instead of implementing a 22% tax increase.
While the proposed tax increase of 1.4 mill was accurately reported as a 22% increase, this statistic is misleading due to the size of the numbers involved. In dollars, A mill is one one-thousandth of a dollar, and in property tax terms is equal to $1.00 of tax for each $1,000 of assessment. 1.4 mills, therefore, is equal to $1.40 for every $1,000 of assessed value, or .14%. A property assessed at $125,000.00 would pay $175 in additional taxes with a 1.4 mill increase.
After considering the comments and concerns voiced by residents, members of the Finance Committee responded to the residents by making a motion to lower the tax increase to 1 mill and reduce expenditures by the approximately $18,000 necessary to balance the budget. The motion was approved unanimously by Council. A one mill increase would bring the Borough tax Rate from 6.4 mill to 7.4 mill. This will increase the General Operating Revenue Tax Rate to 6.94 mill, while keeping .36 mill for the fire company and .10 for the library unchanged.
With the 1 mill tax increase, a property assessed at $125,000.00 would pay an increase of $125 for a total Borough Tax Bill of $925 in total taxes [7.4 mill] to Schwenksville Borough. It should be noted that the increase only effects the Borough Tax which is approximately 17% of total real estate taxes paid, with the majority being paid to Perkiomen Valley School District.
To calculate your tax payment, multiply the assessed value of your property by 7.4 mill and divide by 1,000.
A Special Meeting will be convened on the 28th of December at 7 PM to reconsider a revised 2021 Budget and Tax Ordinance with taxes set at 7.4 mills. The Meeting will be via Zoom and login information will be on the Borough website calendar. The revised budget will be made available for public comment ten days prior to the meeting.