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Forks Supervisor: No Tax Hike "Huge Mistake"

Forks Township supervisors pass 2013 municipal budget without a tax hike -- a "huge mistake" said one supervisor.

Forks Township Supervisor John O'Neil didn't want to do it. He just felt that a tax hike was in the best interests to offset rising municipal costs.

The Forks Township Board of Supervisors voted to approve its 2013 municipal budget, which does not include a tax hike, at its final meeting of the year Thursday night.

And while O'Neil voted for the budget, he did state that he wasn't pleased.

"I think we're making a mistake not doing a tax increase, not even a slight one," O'Neil said. "It's a huge mistake not doing a slight increase."

Supervisor David Billings was the only one who voted against the budget.

"I'm grateful that we're going to have a five-year plan [on finances]," he said. "I'll reserve judgment on the budget."

Finance Director Jim Farley said three work sessions were held before the budget was tentatively approved Nov. 15.

He said the 2013 budget has general fund revenue of $8,171,514 and expenses of $8,169,654.

That leaves a whopping $1,860 in revenue left over.

"We already discussed no tax increase," Supervisor Erik Chuss said. "It's going to be difficult to avoid a tax hike next year."

Supervisor Robert Egolf agreed with O'Neil.

"We're thinking about a modest increase in 2014," he said. "I'm afraid it won't be. We have to take into consideration increased costs so we aren't blindsided at this same time next year."

Supervisor Dan Martyak, though, stressed that it's best that Forks Township holds the line on taxes next year.

"This budget is lean and it's the right thing to do," Martyak said. "I have concern about the fiscal cliff, what's going on at the state level and with the school board. Our job is to provide the leanest budget possible and keep expenses in check."

Chuss said it was a "very difficult decision" not to raise taxes next year.

"We will be taking a long hard look at finances," Chuss said. "We're going to do what we can and hope we can keep a tax increase to a minimum."

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