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Borough Council Approves Tax Increase

On Monday, Dec. 3, Hellertown Borough Council voted to adopt a final 2013 budget that includes a one mill property tax increase.

Hellertown Borough Council voted 5-2 Monday to adopt a 2013 budget that includes a one mill property tax increase, as it had discussed when it approved a preliminary budget earlier this fall.

One mill is equal to $130,659 and the current borough millage rate is 17.75, which means a resident whose home has an assessed value of $50,000 pays $887.50 in borough property taxes per year.

With next year's millage rate increasing to 18.75 mills, the annual tax burden will increase $50 per year--or to $937.50--on a home valued at $50,000.

Borough Manager Cathy Kichline said the borough's 1.5 mill fire tax will remain the same in 2013, for a total millage rate of 20.25 mills.

She explained following council's vote that a full-time police officer position that could have been eliminated as of Jan. 1 is funded through June 30, 2013 with "casino money."

The borough hopes to fund that officer's employment beyond mid-year with another grant from the Northampton County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority, she said.

According to the terms of the 2013 budget, the police department's full-time secretary will also become a part-timer.

Kichline said that means that instead of 35 hours per week she will work 15 hours.

"The police staff themselves will take over some of the administrative duties," she said.

Kichline added that the public works department recently lost a full-time employee through attrition, and said that employee will not be replaced.

In spite of the cuts to staff, council approved wage and salary increases for both contractual and administrative employees as part of the budget.

Kichline said both police and non-uniformed contract employees--who are entering their third year of a 3-year contract--received five percent increases, while administrative employees received raises of between four and five percent.

Voting against adoption of the final 2013 budget were council members Gail Nolf and Tom Rieger.

Council members Phil Weber, John Bate, Mike McKenna, Richard Staffieri and Joseph Pampanin voted to adopt the budget.

Wazzy December 07, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Are you serious! Raises of 4 - 5%! It is amazing how freely governments spend the hard earned money of the helpless taxpayers! Many of us have not had raises in years and we are very grateful we still have jobs! Governments and school districts need to wake up and be more in line with what is happening in this country. How can you justify any raises let alone 4 to 5 %?
Rick Chaco Baciocco December 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I thought our taxes were supposed to go DOWN after the casino went in.
CC December 07, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Our salaries have actually been declining... in order to hang on to jobs. Thanks for spending our tax dollars on these nice raises! Glad all the casino construction, traffic, & crowds is helping us out!!
Walter December 07, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Come on now …. This is what we voted for. Time to Dig Deep and pay up!
A Tax payer December 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
It sickens me to see what this Borough is coming too. It amazes me how salaries are going up and great people are getting cut. You are raising taxes, and reducing the ours of the admin Assistant for the pd, and giving 5% raises across the board???? Being a hellertown tax payer i am concerned. I have all respect for law enforcement and can say i was a proud hellertown resident. But justify why the police will be doing "admin duties" when they get paid to pretect and serve. You are now pulling them off the road to spend time at a desk. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. Crime and traffic went up since the casino went in, and i would say so did all the clerical work that needs to be done. But lets go ahead and reduce hours, they will save us money, said no one ever!!! Yes, the economy is bad, but to be at a shortfall of how many mill and just realizing it now, doesnt make sense. Maybe council should step back and look at management and foolish spending. You guys need to open your eyes and look at what you have! Layoffs should be the last step. There are many other Borough's and towships that have less and work with what they have.
Gerry Kranz December 08, 2012 at 01:48 PM
everyone, calm down. These are politicians, not brain surgeons! these people take care of their own...their own friends! They are not taking care of the town. These are the same type of people that want to explore talking crosswalks. The police do a pretty good job of keeping the Bethlehem trash at bay, but they also get pretty desperate for writing citiations for meaningless "crimes", much like their Lower Saucon brothers in blue. Here is an idea: why don't you merge the two departments to save money based on combined resources? TOO LOGICAL FOR YA?
svforlife2012 December 08, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Gerry Why don't you read that report that came out... it won't save money at all... it will cost MORE money especially for Hellertown... get your head out of the sand and wake up.. read the report... they should once and for all end the merger talks. Now ending it seems more logical doesn't it... least two people voted against it... the other five on the other hand have lost touch with whats really happening out here in the real world.
Yea okay December 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I think that the police should have to do some of their own paperwork. If you take a look around, mostly all the other departments in the area have the officers do their own work! So why can't small town cops do theirs? Not only that, whenever I drive through town I usually see officers sitting parked somewhere. I agree with cutting the hours of a receptionist....if she isn't needed why have her around and pay her to do nothing, or rather, do work officers can do for themselves? Darn, no more flirting around the water cooler anymore, I'm sure the parties involved will be sad to see their extra-marital trysts dissolve!

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