Falls Considers Tax Increase to Cover Fire Company Costs
After holding the line on taxes for decades, the Falls Supervisors are contemplating a minimal tax increase for 2023, along with an Earned Income Tax previously announced.
In an effort to ensure adequate funding for Falls Township’s three fire departments, while limiting the financial impact of taxpayers, the Supervisors are proposing to institute a nominal boost in the fire tax fund for 2023.
The Falls Supervisors introduced a preliminary 2023 budget during Monday night’s meeting. As proposed, the 2023 spending plan would increase the existing 7.22 millage rate to 8.97 mills. The prospective tax boost would mark the first time since 1992 that the Falls Supervisors increased municipal taxes.
If adopted as introduced, the current fire protection tax rate of 1.75 mills will rise to 3 mills. In 1994, Falls Township voters approved a referendum to allow fire protection tax of up to 5 mills.
“We’re well within the limits of that tax,” Finance Director Betsy Reukauf told the board. “The fire companies need our help.”
At the rate of 3 mills, the owner of a Falls home assessed at the township average of $30,000 would pay an additional $52.50 per year for the fire protection fund. In all, the owner of a home assessed at the township average would pay a total of $90 annually for fire service.
The fire protection fund provides financial support for Falls Township Fire Co., Fairless Hills Fire Department and Levittown Fire Co.
If adopted as proposed, property owners would pay $269.10 for an average assessment of $30,000 under the township’s 2023 budget. The owner of the average Bristol Township property, by comparison, paid $1,036.40 in local taxes for 2022.
Unlike neighboring communities, Falls residents are not assessed for trash and leaf pickup.
For decades, Falls officials have worked hard to do more with less. For every $1 paid in taxes, Falls Township receives just 3.5 cents. Yet, year after year the township sees spiraling pension contribution increases. Over the last decade, the township has seen its pension obligation nearly triple. Pension contributions surged from $1.3 million in 2012 to $2.6 million in 2017, with more than $3.5 million projected for next year, all while the state contributions have remained relatively flat.
The 2023 budget allocates $28 million for the design and construction of an expanded and renovated municipal campus; earmarks $4.6 million for the continuation of the annual road improvement program; and includes funds to cover several culvert replacement projects and drainage projects.
In addition, Falls plans to spend $470,000 on four new police vehicles, computer equipment, firearms training and supplies.
In all, $73,240,677 is projected to be spent in 2023.
The community can review the budget from Nov. 30 through Dec. 19. The 2023 budget will be considered for adoption during the Supervisors’ Dec. 19 meeting.