Logan budget won’t raise taxes
The Logan Township supervisors recently approved a tentative budget for next year that calls for no property tax or sewer rate increases — but that nevertheless calls for spending nearly the whole of the township’s $1 million reserve.
The proposed depletion of the reserve, however, is misleading, because of the township’s extremely conservative budgeting approach, according to Finance Director Tiffany Noonan.
Typically, the township “beats” its own budget predictions by spending far less and receiving far more than stated in its budgets, Noonan said.
Last year, for example, the 2019 budget predicted the township would use $868,000 in reserves to balance, but current expectations are that at the end of this month, it will have used only half that amount, Noonan said.
The township is managing to maintain services without raising taxes, despite challenges that include the loss of about 250 jobs at Norfolk Southern, the closing of Sears and Kmart and the loss of $50,000 in property tax revenues, due to successful assessment appeals by businesses, supervisors Chairman Jim Patterson said.
There’s also the $347,000 cost of complying with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems requirements, in conjunction with the 11 municipalities of the Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee — an “unfunded mandate,” said Supervisor Joe Metzgar.
Logan’s property tax levy is 1.34 mills, which, coupled with the Altoona Area School District’s 6.0013 mills and Blair County’s 3.925 mills, generates a total property tax burden of 11.2663 mills.
It’s the second lowest total in the county, after Tyrone Township, Patterson noted.
The supervisors are expected to approve the 2020 budget on Dec. 12.