The 2012 budget approved Tuesday night by a deeply divided Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors is notable as much for what it does not include as what it does.
The $10.7 million spending plan does not include a real estate tax increase, which is good news for township property owners. The owner of a property assessed at the township average of $40,000 will continue to pay $410 in municipal taxes in 2012.
The budget also does not include any money for pay raises, which is not good news for the township’s 58 or so non-uniformed employees.
The budget does include funds so supervisors can continue to collect their $4,125 annual salary and township-paid health insurance benefits. It also includes an unspecified amount of money to cover raises police officers are expected to receive in a still-pending arbitration case.
Supervisors Barbara Lyons, Rick Colello and Tom Scarborough voted in favor of the budget. Supervisors Cynthia Philo and Barbara Eisenhardt, whose support of last year’s 41-percent tax increase cost them their seats in the November election, voted against it.
Before approving the final budget, the board turned down a proposed amendment to include two-percent pay raises for non-uniformed employees, a move that only Lyons and Philo supported.
While the 3-2 vote gives the township a legal balanced budget for 2012, things could get interesting next month.
Lyons said she would support reopening the budget in January, only if it means non-uniformed employees would get a two-percent raise. Solicitor Jeff Garton said state law allows the board to reopen the budget in January if at least one new supervisor takes office. They can increase the overall budget only by 10 percent and any individual line item by 25 percent, he said.
Lyons said non-uniformed employees, whose average salary is about $40,000, deserve at least a two-percent pay hike because their hard work and dedication are responsible for making the township a great place to live and work.
“We provide great services because of our staff,” said Lyons. “I hear only positive accolades from our residents on our road drew and our recreation department. They are good people, there is very little turnover, they are dedicated and they love the township. I think we are doing as well as we are because of the staff.”
Lee Schwartz, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, suggested supervisors consider a tax increase, since it generated about $485,000 more revenue this year than expected. He also suggested using $34,000 from a list of essential but not mandatory capital expenditures to pay for the employee pay raises, as “a sign of good faith to residents.”
Eisenhart, a Democrat, said she voted against the budget because she wants incoming Republican supervisors Shawn Touhill and Ryan Manion to have a say in the way the budget is spent.
Philo said she voted against the measure because it did not include pay raises for non-uniformed employees.
After the meeting, Eisenhardt and Philo were presented with resolutions thanking them for their serivce, along with flowers, framed prints and other mementos.
Eisenhardt served 12 years on the board while Philo served for six years.