LANCASTER TWP — The township’s 2019 budget does not include a tax increase, though it does see an increase in available revenue.
The overall township budget was approved Nov. 19 at a total of $1.705 million. Officials said this is higher than previous years and accounts for an increase in tax revenue from new development, real estate transfer taxes and additional earned income from new residents.
“Budgets tell a story based strictly on numbers,” township Treasurer Chrissy Senft said. “The budget for 2019 looks to be a continued year of steady growth, development and improvements for township facilities, roads and, most of all, our services to our residents.”
Senft also said many see a budget as something that is only considered a few times a year.
“In Lancaster Township, this document is referenced on a regular basis and is used to help make decisions for not just the current year, but we are able to forecast several years out when considering investments, replacing vehicles and/or making any significant staffing changes,” she said. “By continuing to use this process, it has allowed the township to build reserves for large projects.”
Senft said estimated expenses total $1.398 million, a slight increase from 2018’s budget. Part of the increase will include more money spent on public safety, roads and streets, such as the Lancaster Township Police Department, road maintenance, snow removal, general government administration and financial contributions to the Lancaster Township Historical Society, Harmony Fire District and the Zelienople Public Library.
Senft also said ACT 13 impact fees came in “significantly higher than anticipated,” and the township was able to pay off a vehicle loan nearly one year early.
Phase 1 of Four Springs Park, which includes the development of the walking trail, is on track to be completed before the end of the year, and the township intends to seek additional grants for the park in 2019.
The budget also laid out plans to renovate the exterior entrance and vestibule of the community center, establish a committee for updating the township comprehensive plan and continue 24/7 police coverage with the addition of a new vehicle to be in service in the spring.
Several small road projects were also selected to take priority after the winter.