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First crack at Solebury budget shows 0.95-mill tax hike

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Early budget talks by the Solebury Board of Supervisors would hike 2019 municipal taxes by $58 for the average homeowner.

The .95-mill increase would include the hiring of two new police officers and a $120,000 contribution to the New Hope-Solebury Library, which currently receives $100,000 from the township.

Dennis Carney, township manager, and Michele Blood, township financial director, presented figures to the board Tuesday, which included $1.01 million for possible easement acquisitions of three properties from the land preservation fund.

Other listed 2019 expenses included Aquetong Spring Park projects of $100,000 for removing trees, $103,000 for design of stream restoration, and $542,000 for construction of trails and amenities.

Blood noted the township’s tax revenue at this time is about $200,000 higher than at the same time last year.

The main point of contention was the size of the contribution to the library, which had requested a $200,000 donation.

“I think a 20 percent increase is quite enough,” said Supervisor Kevin Morrissey. “We won’t stay among the lowest (tax rate) in the county if we keep granting every request.”

Chair Mark Baum Baicker said a tax hike for increased police protection showed Solebury is “not immune to what happens everywhere. Reality is reality.”

In other money matters, state Rep. Helen Tai, (D-178), a former Solebury supervisor, presented checks she had procured for local groups.

The first was a $259,099 health grant to New Hope-Solebury Cares to strengthen families, achieve academic success, and prevent violence.

Zachary Mahon, Cares youth leadership director, who will share the funds with the Council Rock School District, accepted the Department of Human Services grant on behalf of the group.

The second grant for $21,500 from the Department of Community and Economic Development went to Solebury Police Chief Dominick Bellizzie for five windows in the police department complex and for a police patrol bicycle.

In other business, Baum Baicker noted that the spotted lanternfly “has clearly hit our area and going forward will be a major problem” and a danger to agriculture.

Morrissey said there will be a lanternfly presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the environmental advisory council meeting at the township building.

The presentation will be given by Heather Kerr, forester at the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry.


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