Proposed budget raises taxes

Marlton Township Manager Bill Cromie presented the proposed 2013 township budget, which included a $59.65 increase for the average assessed home of $271,200.

The increase correlates to the township’s responsibility to pay more than $1.5 million in tax appeals. The township receives 15 percent of property tax dollars, but is required to pay 100 percent of the tax appeals, according to Cromie.

The proposed budget of $32.8 million indicates a spending decrease of $26,571 from 2012.

“We do not have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem,” Cromie said.

The township utilized surplus, which would have otherwise carried over to next year.

The tax levy would provide immediate revenue and be equal to $1.15 per week for residents. According to Cromie, the cost per resident in Evesham Township is $721, less than the Burlington County average of $859.

Included in the budget is the proposed $3.1 million capital budget, encompassing neighborhood improvements and the road re-pavement project. The budget is financed utilizing a $150,000 cash down payment and capital bonds.

“If every town in Burlington County did business the way we did business, it would save $61 million to taxpayers in Burlington County,” Mayor Randy Brown said.

Brown compared Evesham Township to neighboring towns in Camden County, noting it would be №1.

“I should be delivering a tax decrease,” Brown said. “We’ve done everything right, but it’s the municipality’s responsibility to pay all tax appeal losses. Even though the township takes 15 cents in, we have to pay the whole dollar out.”

According to Brown, Evesham receives reimbursement on lost tax appeals, accounting for 30 percent of losses. The other 70 percent, approximately $1 million, is “eaten by the township.”

The township spent $700,000 for tax collectors and assessors, none of which is refunded or used as shared services, something Brown would like to see changed.

Brown is proposing to approach the taxing entities through a bill to reimburse the township in full for the amount of money due for tax appeals. Additionally, Brown hopes to work on a shared services agreement with all the taxing entities about the tax collector and assessor.

Concurrently, Brown asked the council to consider supporting state Senate bill 1896.

According to Cromie, the bill would allow schools and other entities to create a reserve for tax appeals, removing the financial burden from the township.

“I’m calling on our Legislature to enact and pass this bill, with a companion bill in the Assembly by summer recess,” Brown said. “Let’s have full accountability in everyone’s budget.

“Evesham Township should not have to pay the bills for eight sending towns in the Lenape Regional district. If we’re paying the full load in their appeals, we shouldn’t be paying for the other towns.”

A timeline for the bill has not been established.

In other news:
Indian Springs Golf Course marketing will see an overhaul, and trash collection will change.

According to Frank Hesson, director of golf operations, a third party marketing firm will oversee website updates, email marketing for a database of 6,000 people, tee times and the creation of an app that includes a GPS system with an aerial view of the course.

According to deputy manager Tom Kohl, trash collection will move from five days to four days.

Residents with collection Monday through Thursday will see little change, while Fridays will be eliminated. Details are not yet finalized.