Township officials gave themselves credit for their close watch of the municipality's purse strings as they submitted the 19th consecutive budget without raising property taxes.

Property owners will also see a slight property tax decrease in the township's $10.2 million budget for 2006.

Supervisor's Chairman Joseph Toner says his board meticulously examines every penny that comes in and out of the township's treasury because "pennies turn into dollars."

"The three supervisors, department heads and the police chief all focus on the bottom line," Toner said. "We scrutinize all bills every Friday to make sure we are getting best results for every tax dollar that is paid."

Supervisor Milton H. Bozarth credits Township Manager Doug Hanley and Treasurer Sue Bernard for increasing staff productivity while working to keep the township's fiscal house in order.

"They are very skilled at managing our money as if it were their own," Bozarth said. "They get the same amount done with fewer resources."

On average, township homeowners pay $23 per household for the township property tax, and the municipality has been able to refrain from raising property taxes by relying upon the Emergency Services Tax.

The tax costs $52 per person annually and is deducted from the paychecks of every person who works in the township.

"This is used for two purposes: emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance that go in to the general fund," he said. "It is used in a fashion that is revenue-neutral to offset the property tax in an exact amount."

Comparatively, he says many other Chester County municipalities use the Emergency Service Taz to augment their property-tax revenues.

Toner said the board has reduced township property taxes by two-thirds in the 2006 budget to "give property owners a real break."

Township officials also credit previous boards supervisors for working to develop a mixture of residential and commercial property uses to keep property taxes under control.

Toner said neighboring townships that choose only to allow houses to be built, while eschewing commercial development do so at their taxpayers' peril, noting that some Chester County municipalities without mixed uses have property tax rates close to $800 per household.

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