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No tax increase for Damascus

December 30, 2013

DAMASCUS TOWNSHIP, PA — The Damascus Township supervisors approved a 2014 budget with no tax increase and also decided not to adopt a special tax for road and bridge improvements.
The balanced budget of $1,130,063 was approved unanimously December 23 with the millage rate set at 2.15, the same as 2013’s budget. A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

But the special tax, which would have been an extra 0.3 or 0.4 of a mill, was shot down by a vote of two to one. Chairman Jeffrey Dexter, who voted in favor of having the tax, said it would only be for road and bridge improvements and not maintenance.

“We’re trying to salvage the paved roads we have now… Everything we spend on roads is going up,” said the chairman.

But his fellow supervisors, Charles Grady and Joe Canfield, voted against the proposal. “I just feel uncomfortable about it,” Canfield said as he voted against the proposed tax.
After the meeting Canfield said, “We’re spending other people’s money and I don’t want to pass any more of a burden off to the taxpayers.”

Grady could not be reached for comment after the meeting.
Dexter said there is currently no road and bridge improvement fund. “It would have been nice to have,” he said after the meeting.

There are about 20 bridges in the township and over 100 miles of roads.
Regarding the budget, its main income includes real estate taxes, $540,000; machinery tax, $127,000; and fire tax, $67,000. The budget’s top expenditures include $683,800 for highways, roads and streets; $160,200 for public safety; $109,700 for general government; and $106,300 for general services.
In other business, Grady was presented with a plaque in recognition for his years of service on the board. The Republican’s term ends January 1, when he will be replaced by fellow Republican Steven R. Adams.