Residents of Hellertown could see a modest tax increase next year.
The preliminary version of the borough budget approved 6-1 by Hellertown Borough Council Nov. 5 includes a one mill property tax increase, which is equivalent to $50 per year for a home with an assessed value of $50,000.
One mill is equal to $130,659 and the current (2012) borough millage rate is 17.75, which is equivalent to a tax burden of $887.50 per year on a house with an assessed value of $50,000, according to information shared by the borough.
An increase of the millage rate to 18.75 mills would thus increase that annual burden to $937.50 on a home valued at $50,000.
The lone council member to vote against the preliminary budget as Thomas Rieger.
Council also directed its solicitor, Michael Corriere, to determine the proper procedure for reducing staff with layoffs.
According to a motion that was approved unanimously, Corriere will determine the procedure for reducing the public works department staff by one full-time employee; for reducing the police force's size by one full-time officer; and for reducing the number of hours worked by administrative staff.
That motion was approved by council after it met in executive session with the heads of several departments, including Public Works Director Tom Henshaw and Police Chief Robert Shupp.
Even with the tax increase and savings that would result from layoffs, the preliminary budget still includes a $55,000 shortfall that would be filled by taking money from the borough's general fund balance.
Borough manager Cathy Kichline said the preliminary budget would be available for public inspection by the end of the week.
Council is scheduled to vote on its final adoption in early December.