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Get The Answers May 8



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To the Editor:

The recommendations for the Borough's 2018-19 budget that were approved by the burgesses on April 10 include some disturbing items. If they pass, taxpayers would see a 76 percent increase in their taxes. Two line-items in particular deserve explanation. The first is a budget item for a $100,000 "special assessment," but there is nothing said about what that money is for or why it's needed. That is $100,000 more than what will be needed during the next fiscal year. The lack of information concerning that extra $100,000 is all the more perplexing in the light of an existing cash surplus in excess of $500,000. What is that $600,000 for? And, since the Borough can only tax for enough money to cover its expenses for each fiscal, how did the Borough accumulate that much money? Taxes are high enough already without an extra $100,000.

The second item is an increase in the expected cost of legal services. It was $7,500 two years ago and $10,000 for this year. It is now expected to increase to $50,000 with no explanation of what the Borough foresees in the next fiscal year that would require such an increase.

The Borough is authorized to lay taxes in an amount sufficient to meet its expenses over the succeeding year, and no more. The burgesses should at least discuss with taxpayers the specific need for these anticipated expenses, why the Borough is carrying such a large cash surplus, and why it is not being applied to reduce next year's taxes.

The burgesses have announced a meeting of property owners and electors on May 8 for the purpose of voting on the proposed budget. Whether there will be opportunity to address or question specific line-items remains to be seen.

Taxpayers' only chance to find out what is happening with the Borough expenses and taxes may be at the May 8 meeting. It is important to have their input before a budget is approved. There may be reasonable answers to these questions, but without an opportunity for debate and without satisfactory explanations, it would be entirely irresponsible for voters to approve the budget being proposed.

Don Mitchell

8 Budd Drive, Newtown         April 30, 2018

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