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Forks Calls for Five-Year Spending Plan

Forks Township supervisors say they want to deal with taxation over the next five years.

The Forks Township supervisors are expected to give residents a Christmas present when they approve the 2013 municipal budget -- with no tax increase -- at the final meeting of the year Thursday.

Officials believe they know that they should raise taxes next year to help offset rising expenses but supervisors say they wanted to do the right thing, knowing how people are still feeling the reeling effects of the economy.

But Forks officials are certainly thinking about the future.

At its meeting last month, officials approved a motion calling for a five-year plan for taxation to ensure that there's a balance between curbing financial costs and planning for future growth.

The plan was sparked by Supervisor Dan Martyak, who stated that he wouldn't be comfortable with a tax hike.

"Before I support a tax increase, I like to know about a plan," Martyak said. "I have zero faith in an economic recovery. So we should come up with a plan to get us back on track."

Supervisor John O'Neil said that plan should be the top agenda item to start the new year.

Martyak wants residents involved too.

"I encourage citizens to be part of the discussions, to have some input and help us move forward," Martyak said.

Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss said that with upcoming fiscal issues, a five-year plan might help township officials figure out how to pay for expenses over the next few decades for road improvements, fire trucks, police cars and other items.

"We know we should have raised taxes this year by a quarter-mill or a half-mill," he said. "Avoiding a tax increase will be nearly impossible. It will be higher next year. If you look at the budget, we're cutting pennies. It's quite a fiscal challenge that we're facing here."

Supervisors discussed how long it might take to put such a plan together.

Martyak hoped for a plan to be submitted by the end of February with approval by April 30.

Chuss agreed that a plan should be in place by the second quarter of the year.

"A motion holds our feet to the fire," he said.

"We should have discussed this years ago," O'Neil said. "We've been delaying it, sitting with blinders on."

Rasterone December 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM
The future of Forks is tied to the future of the broader Easton Area School District and if the schools and education fails to thrive then Forks will fail to thrive . And one of the significant threats to the costs of schools and the lack of tax base is the growing presence of landlord/investor operated residential housing as compared to owner occupied housing.
Brett Bonfanti December 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Well, if it goes anything like the 5-year Recreation Plan, we can expect to see it voted on in about 2-3 years and the BOS will go ahead with parts of the plan without approving the plan first. Additionally, taxpayers will not have access to it until the final version is ready to be voted on. Let's hope this one goes differently.
Bob B December 19, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I'll vote for a five year spending freeze and not more money spent on new municiple buildings, band stands, etc.
Nancy Bonfanti December 20, 2012 at 03:12 PM
You took the words right out of my mouth! This current administration should use the experiences of the past 2 years as its pathway for success. The out of control spending on just the two items you mention should NEVER have happened and unfortunately, the former ousted supervisors put us in a difficult situation. Would we be looking at a tax hike if it weren't for these couple items? However, we have voted for this new adiministration (plus a few leftovers from the past) and I will put every faith in them to do what is right for our township. I don't disagree with a five-year plan for taxation but it is difficult to prepare this with so many unknowns. It's like creating a budget for a non-profit! Let's see what they come up with before we tear it to shreds.

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