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.