NEWTOWN, PA — The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to revise a budgeton residents.
The preliminary budget proposes a millage increase of 7.5 to be added to the general fund, or a 178 percent property tax increase for township residents.
During its meeting Tuesday night, supervisors instructed township manager Micah Lewis to return to the Nov. 25 board of supervisors meeting with a revised preliminary budget that reduces the millage increase by 2.0 mills by dipping into the township's reserve fund.
In written comments to the board, Lewis cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a major factor in the steep tax increase.
During public comments Tuesday night, some residents expressed concern over the potentially significant tax hike.
"To hit us with such a high increase, you're hurting the people that are already hurt," Mike Palestini, a Newtown Township resident, told supervisors. "It doesn't seem to be the right time to do that."
Board chairman Philip Calabro said he and fellow supervisors are looking at alternative proposals, including one that would impose a smaller, 40 percent property tax increase, likely at the expense of township services.
"We understand. We're residents of the township," Calabro said. "But we have to take things like police and fire protection into consideration."
If the budget is approved at the Nov. 25 meeting, the public has 20 days to examine the budget and submit comments. By law, the township must officially adopt a budget by Dec. 31, 2020.