While finalizing its no-tax-increase budget for 2020, Richland Township also credited outgoing Supervisor Rick Orloff with significant contribution to the township’s budget presentation.
Presenting a certificate of appreciation from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) honoring Orloff’s 24 years of service as a supervisor, at the Dec. 9 public board of supervisors meeting, Township Manager Paul Stepanoff said the “basis for the township’s current budget presentation was from Mr. Orloff,” replacing a previous presentation that was “poor.”
Orloff, a CPA, voted against the budget, citing township-paid “block parties, and lack of structural change needed to lower the severity and frequency” of future tax increases.
In presenting the budget, Stepanoff noted higher than expected, one-time revenue gains in 2019 as allowing for no tax increase for 2020, and the need for significant new revenue gains or expense reductions to avoid increases starting in 2021.
Stepanoff noted hope for expense reduction, through the possibility of revising employee benefits to self-insuring for hospital stays, as the leading method “to squeeze so far.” The idea is expected to be part of negotiations for the township’s next contract with its police officers, which is due next year. Stepanoff has noted a 3 mill tax increase was expected to be needed starting in the next 1-2 years “to keep the police budget positive,” without equivalent revenue gains and/or expense reductions overall.
Orloff said the township maintained its police department “for the first 10 years with no new taxes.” The current real estate tax rate of 11.30 mills includes 10.55 mills going to the police fund, which started several years ago when the department went 24/7. The remaining 0.75 mills goes to the fire fund, for contributions to the fire companies serving the township.
In parting remarks, Orloff noted, as an accomplishment, establishing a strategy of “getting back contributions from developers, instead of pursuing fruitless opposition to lawful development.” He also called for a forensic audit, by the state, of the Richland Township Water Authority (RTWA).