"Perfect Storm" Budget Looms for Springfield
Commissioners: Township fees may increase, property tax impact should be small.
While Springfield may have missed the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, the Board of Commissioners is gearing up for what it calls a fiscal "perfect storm."
Preparation for 2013 township budget is underway and already Springfield braces for tough decisions, Commissioners President Jeff Rudolph said at the Nov. 13 meeting.
"While every budget presents unique challenges, this one appears to be heading into a perfect storm..." Rudolph said. "As we move forward to anticipated increasing fees where necessary, and minimizing any increase on property taxes, our continued goal is to provide Springfield Township with a level of service we have all come to expect, while maintaining fiscal responsibility."
The Fifth Ward commissioner attributed several rising costs "that we have little or no control over" as causes for the tough year ahead. Already the Finance Committee prepares to deal with the following increases:
- Trash tipping fees will go up 40 percent—from $23.45 per ton to $33.
- Liability insurance premium increased by $40,000.
- Pension contributions exceed $1 million.
- Health care costs are projected to go up 10 percent.
- Sanitary sewer fees are increasing "significantly."
On the other side, the township has lost some sources of revenue due to the economy. Rudolph said real estate transfer fees dipped because of the recession. Additionally, Springfield performed fewer commercial assessments in 2012, yielding less funds.
"While it is customary to have modest increases in different areas, it is unprecedented to have all of them at the same time," Rudolph said.
The Board of Commissioners, Rudolph said, already reduced the township's staffing levels due to reorganization and retirement, which lowered payroll and benefit costs. The governing body must deal with the upcoming obstacles of continued service for taxpayers while addressing costs.
The township will meet internally prior to publicly unveiling the budget after the Thanksgiving holiday.