Taxes have been steady in Durham Township for seven years but it seems the honeymoon has ended. The township supervisors have announced a 2-mill increase for 2024.
If the draft budget presented at the November meeting is adopted at the board’s December meeting, the average property owner will pay an additional $77 or so next year, said Supervisor Chairman Bartley E. Millett.
One mill is equal to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. A mill is worth about $38 and the average property value assessment is $28,800.
The board voted to advertise the draft budget and adopt it at its December meeting. The budget is balanced with expenses and income both set at $635,775. Copies of the document are available to residents on the township’s website, durhamtownship.org, as well as at the township office on Old Furnace Road.
The township is planning to add one full-time employee in the public works department. The proposed spending plan also includes pay raises for the staff.
The supervisors claim those increases are necessary not only to hire new workers but also to retain current employees.
Roadmaster Peter Cox will get a $5,000 increase for a 35-hour workweek, according to the proposed budget. Other employees, including his wife, Danielle Cox, who is township administrator, will receive a 3% wage increase.
Wendy Badman, a member of the township’s planning commission, complained about the lack of transparency from two volunteer organizations to which the board contributes money each year: Upper Bucks Regional Emergency Medical Service (UBREMS) and Palisades Regional Fire and Rescue (PRFR).
The board agreed to withhold checks for the budgeted amounts until the requested information is received.
“I think the residents have a right to know what’s going on,” Badman said.
UBREMS, which provides ambulance service in the area, has failed to produce a business plan and subscriber list to the township, Danielle Cox said.
Palisades Regional Fire Rescue also needs to provide updated information. Peter Cox, the roadmaster, is PRFR president and he said he would get updated information to the supervisors.
The township has, according to the preliminary budget, set aside $41,760 for the fire company and $10,440 for UBREMS. Neither of the organizations has provided information such as the number of calls made in the municipality.
The township office will be closed Nov. 23 and 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday.