By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The Rockefeller Township supervisors raised real estate taxes more than 330 percent at Tuesday’s meeting, citing the need to address the municipality’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and storm water drainage, as well as equipment needs.
The real estate tax will increase next year from 0.75 mills to 4.50 mills. The fire protection tax will remain at 0.50 mills.
A person with property appraised at $80,000 to $120,000 now pays an average of $18 to $25 in taxes a year. Next year, that amount will increase by $60 to $80 and $78 to $105.
The township’s overall budget for 2014 is $500,000.
Supervisor D. Michael Brockman said: “While raising taxes is never an easy or popular course of action, the need to maintain the township’s roads and bridges is the board’s top priority. We are starting to lose our roads. We felt like we had to do something about the 40 miles of roads in the township. All but two or three require constant maintenance.”
Brockman said the supervisors have held the line on taxes for more than 20 years.
As part of 2014 budget preparations, Brockman said, “The board of supervisors, along with township staff, developed a strategic plan with an effort to keep up with rising prices for most commodities, including materials used to maintain roads and equipment.”
The 2014 projected road repair budget is $196,158, he said.
“This number includes tar-and-chip coating on some roads as well as storm water pipe repairs, and work on ditches and berms,” Brockman said.
Some of the roads included in the 2014 work plan are Seven Points Road ($30,000), Clemens Road ($28,000), Foye Road ($23,000), Airport Road ($24,000) and Comfort Road ($28,000).
There are other roads that will be worked on as well, but these are the larger projects, he said.
“Keep in mind,” Brockman said, “that in addition to planned work, we need to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us as well. A hard icy, snowy winter really puts a drain on the bank accounts.”