When: Upper Leacock Supervisors Meeting, 20 October.
What happened: The council approved the release of the township’s budget for 2023 with no property tax increase. The tax rate remains at 1.695 mills, so the tax bill for a property valued at $100,000 will continue to be $169.50.
Key figures: The proposed budget lists total revenues of $3.8 million and total expenses of $4.1 million. Township manager Michael Morris said the deficit will be paid from the unrestricted fund balance of $5.3 million as of Aug. 31. and a $28,500 replacement plow.
Library contribution: The Upper Leacock Library’s annual contribution continues to be $16,000 divided into three: $6,000 each for New Holland and Lancaster City and $4,000 for Ephrata. Earlier in the meeting, Jamie Hall, director of donor relations at the Lancaster Public Library, told the council that 28% of Upper Leacock residents hold a library card. In 2021, they borrowed a total of 49,000 documents with a value estimated by the American Library Association at more than $900,000. Hall thanked the board for their support and had asked for a 10% increase in their contribution to cover the increased cost of materials and salaries. She said the amount of state assistance the library receives is based on municipal funding.
Quoteable: “People think, do we still need libraries? Well, even though we have Google handy…Google will get you 100,000 answers, the library will get you the right one,” Hall said.
Regressive taxes: Council denied a request for municipal tax exemption by Marvin and Ruth Stoltzfus 390 E. Eby Road, Leola of a transfer of 1.3 acres to Leola Mennonite Church. Morris noted that the Conestoga Valley School Board had not granted a similar request from the Stoltzfuse for a tax waiver from the school district’s land transfer tax reduction.
Background: The land is part of a 50-acre parcel of land protected by the state Department of Agriculture’s Clean and Green program, which provides reduced property taxes. By not granting the waiver, the landowners become liable to pay $9,800 in abatement municipal taxes and interest on the entire parcel of land. The council was concerned that granting a waiver for the 1.3 acres would set a precedent affecting what happens with the remaining plot in the future.
Quoteable: “This is a precedent and I think it’s set as a sanction for (breaking) an agreement that you sign, you agree to and benefit from for many years,” Morris said.
Next meeting : The council meets again on November 29.