Mayor vetoes tax hike

By MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY

For 21st Century Media

The Oxford Borough Council adopted both a 2014 budget and a new tax millage rate at their Dec. 16 meeting, but Mayor Geoff Henry has objections to the tax increase from 11.5 mills to 12 mills.

A mill is a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of real estate property value.

Henry took no action at the Dec. 16 meeting, but the following week on Dec. 23, delivered a letter to the Borough Manager Betsy Brantner and Borough Council President Ron Hershey, vetoing the new tax rate ordinance.

When an ordinance is adopted by council the Mayor may either sign it, non sign it and allow it to go into effect in 10 days, or veto it. I felt it was time somebody tried to stand up for the increase in taxes year after year, Henry said, noting that the boroughs tax rates have going up 28 percent in the last five years and 128 percent over the last ten years.

In addition to the record of tax increases, Henry also has concerns about how the budget process is handled, but the budget developed by the finance committee. The budget wasnt really available for review until Borough Day on Dec. 2, Henry said, pointing out that there are 30 line items with increases over this year.

As The Avon Grove Sun goes to press, a special meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec 30, for council to discuss the situation and potentially override the veto. Henry explained that the override will take the vote of a majority of council members plus one.

The face of Council will be changing Jan. 6 when three newly elected council members will be installed. The new council would have the option of reopening the budget to make changes and adopting a new version before Feb. 15.