The Wrightstown Board of Supervisors plans to reduce the local earned income tax (EIT) in 2024, but raise the township property tax rate to help cover expenses and fund what officials described as critical investments, including a fire truck.
At a public meeting Nov. 13, the three-person board that governs Wrightstown granted preliminary approval to the 2024 municipal budget. A final vote — which would set the budget in place for next year — is scheduled to occur at a public hearing Dec. 11.
The 2024 Wrightstown spending plan calls for lowering the EIT rate from 1.15% to 1%.
“This reduction is being made because an existing 20-year open space loan was paid off in 2023,” explained Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski. “Resident savings will depend on the extent of earned income. Estimated savings of $120 to $450 would be expected for wage earners making $80K to $300K, respectively. At the present time, the township does not have any additional open space opportunities beyond those currently under negotiation, so continuation of the .15% open space EIT is not needed.”
Wrightstown also plans to reduce the open space millage rate from 0.5 mills to 0.1 mills. Funds generated from the remaining 0.1 mills will be earmarked for maintenance of current open space-protected areas, noted Pogonowski.
While the open space millage is slated to lessen, the overall millage rate that Wrightstown levies on properties within its borders, which includes open space and other sub rates, is in line to rise from 9.23 mils in 2023 to 12 mils in 2024.
A mill is equal to $1 of every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.
To calculate the municipal tax on a Wrightstown property under the proposed millage rate, multiply the assessed value of the property by 12 and then divide by 1,000.
For instance, a Wrightstown property assessed at $100,000 would have a township real estate tax bill of $1,200 in 2024. Meanwhile, a property assessed $30,000 would pay $360.
“Wrightstown has a history of having a fairly stable tax rate,” said Pogonowski. “The last property tax increase was a 2.1 mill increase for 2018.”
County and school district taxes also contribute to a landowner’s property tax bill. The township doesn’t control those taxes.
Pogonowski shared that a range of necessary expenses are driving the increased millage rate in 2024. They include replacement of a 23-year-old fire truck. The new one is expected to cost $1.2 million and be delivered by 2026. An additional $200,000 is required to properly outfit the apparatus.
Rising costs for health insurance and maintenance projects, such as repaving the library parking lot and a retention basin restoration, are also factors fueling the millage rise. So are fire pond improvements.
“Wrightstown maintains several water ponds for fire protection, which have been in place for the past 25 to 30 years,” said Pogonowski. “These require occasional maintenance to keep the facilities operational.”
Meanwhile, sewage fees are projected to rise for select residents.
“The township runs two package sewage treatment plants servicing the Matthews Ridge and Chapman Corners East subdivision,” Pogonowski said. “Due to increasing costs, the quarterly sewage fees for these developments will increase, with Matthews Ridge rising from $985 to $1,185 and Chapman Corners from $660 to $750. The cost of operations must be covered by the affected property owners and not distributed back to other township residents.”
Overall, the proposed 2024 Wrightstown budget has general fund expenditures of $2,522,615. The general fund provides the funding for pivotal township operations that include public works, police protection, administration and more.