Annual Summary

Throughout 2014, Spring Township elected officials remained committed to providing the highest level of municipal services to maintain the Township as a desirable place to live, work and worship while affirming that the costs of providing those services must be continually analyzed, streamlined and controlled as much as possible. Following that unchanged vision and affirmation, management’s focus of sustaining and improving the financial strength of the Township while providing efficient and effective services to its residents with the lowest possible financial impact on those same residents remained unchanged as well.

By combining limited non-tax rate driven revenue growth with rising costs for personnel, materials, supplies and ongoing unfunded mandates passed down from higher levels of governance, 2014 once again presented a formidable challenge from a financial perspective. In order to overcome these challenges and accomplish our elected officials’ directives, management continued to support and follow the theory that the responsibility for the financial success of the Township needs to be sheltered from the taxpayers as much as possible from a financial perspective and the municipality and its employees need to continually analyze and evaluate services and implement efficiencies wherever possible. The theory must allow for preservation and continuation of providing the highest level of customer service to our residents.

On the taxpayer side, the Township was able to function at full service levels in all areas without increasing real estate taxes or user fees for services provided to the residents in 2014. This year marked the ninth year in the past thirteen year period where the residents did not see an increase in their real estate tax millage or user fees for sewer, trash or recycling services. Maintaining the lowest possible level of real estate tax millage has always been a top priority for the Township and in 2014, the Spring Township ranked in the top-five (5) for both size and population when compared to all Berks County municipalities however our tax millage ranked thirty-third (33rd) out of those same seventy-three (73) municipalities.

On the Township/employee side, as with their counterparts in the private sector, Township employees were once again asked to do more with less in the way of manpower, resources, compensation and benefits. During 2014, all employees were required to contribute a higher percentage of their earnings towards the cost of the benefits that they currently receive; compensation arrangements outside the historically normal annual compounding increases were continued and further refined to assist in controlling personnel costs for both the current time as well as into the future; and full-time employment levels were reduced by a total of seven (7) employees throughout the year via organizational restructuring and retirements. Finally, the Township continued to monitor purchases and spending very closely throughout 2014, developed new and strengthened existing internal efficiencies wherever possible and monitored all full and part-time employment levels on an on-going basis to control our expenses as much as possible.

With all of the aforementioned policies and practices in effect, the Township was able to perform with financial success for 2014. Some of the highlights of that success and the 2014 Township tax structure are presented below

The 2014 financial highlight for the Township are as follows:

 

  • Township wide revenues amounted to $24,021,500 and exceeded budgeted expectations by $498,000.
  • Township wide expenses amounted to $25,352,000 and were below budgeted expectations by $1,200,000.
  • Actual general fund revenue exceeded budgeted revenue by $104,000.
  • Actual general fund expenses were below budgeted general fund expenses by $406,000.
  • Tax millage and user fees for sewer, trash and recycling remained unchanged in 2014.
  • Eliminated and/or left unfilled seven (7) full-time employment positions through organizational wide
    restructuring and retirements
  • Reconstructed and rehabilitated approximately $1,570,000 of Township roadways
  • Completed work on the wastewater treatment plant renovation and upgrade project.
  • Replaced playground equipment at the LenOak Park.

2014 Township Wide Tax Structure:

The Township’s 2014 real estate tax structure (excluding the fire hydrant and the street light taxes that are only assessed on properties residing within the service districts of those two elements) remained at 3.25 mills. The 3.25 mills is comprised of 2.25 mills for general purposes (general fund revenue) and 1.00 mills for twenty-four/seven fire protection services with a fourteen (14) employee full-time staff and numerous dedicated volunteers

In Pennsylvania, property taxes are based on millage rates set by individual political subdivisions; (counties, townships, boroughs, school districts, etc.). In other words, property taxes in Pennsylvania vary from one county to another and even from one municipality to the next. The amount of property tax you owe is based on a combination of your assessed property value (as determined by the County assessment office) and the millage rates of the political subdivisions in which you live. One mill is equal to 1/1,000 of a dollar. Basically, for every $1,000 in assessed taxable value, a property owner will pay $1 in taxation per mill. For taxable property owners in the Township, that correlated to the following for 2014:

 

Subdivision

 

2014 Millage

 

Explanations

Berks County

7.3720

Wilson Schools

24.250

Spring Township

3.250

Millage excludes street light and fire hydrant taxes since those taxes are assessed only on the properties that receive the service; not the entire population.

Looking at these millage rates in dollar form, for 2014, a property owner in Spring Township paid approximately $34.87 in property taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value. This means that a property assessed at $150,000 paid approximately $5,230.50, at the flat rate, in total real estate taxes (County, School, & Township combined) last year and would have received the following two tax bills (approximates) with both the Berks County and Spring Township tax liability received on a March bill due and payable in total to the elected Spring Township Tax Collector and the Wilson School District tax liability received on a July bill due and payable directly to the Wilson School District:

Subdivision

 

2014 Millage

 

March Bill

 

July Bill

Berks County

7.3720

$ 1,105.80

$ –

Wilson Schools

24.250

$ –

$ 3,637.50

Spring Township

3.250

$ 487.50

$ –

Total

34.872

$ 1,593.30

$ 3,637.50

The proportionate breakdown of those dollars is displayed in the pie chart below:
Piechart