Published Date Written by Noelle Barrett
Highspire residents: Open your wallets. The borough could be raising taxes for the sixth time in seven years.
Borough Council approved to advertise a proposed budget that includes a 0.85 hike in the real estate tax millage for 2014.
If approved, the increase would raise the property tax from 14.95 mills to 15.80 mills. That means for each $1,000 at which a house is valued, the homeowner would pay an additional 85 cents in taxes. A resident with a house valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $85.The $2.1 million proposed general fund budget for 2014 is about $129,000 more than last year’s $1.97 million budget.
Borough manager John McHale said the biggest hits to the budget are pension costs and liability insurances.
“The cost of things is going up,’’ McHale said. “We spent a lot of hours trying to figure out how we can avoid this. To maintain services, this is what we had to do.”
Increasing taxes has become a trend in Highspire.
In 2007, the real estate tax was 9.35 mills. That year, and in the next two years, council voted to raise taxes by 1 mill.
Then, in 2010, Highspire saw one of the largest hikes in real estate taxes in recent years – a 1.95-mill increase that raised the tax from 12.35 to 14.30 mills.
The big jump spared residents from seeing an increase in 2011, but not 2012. That year, taxes went up from 14.3 mills to 14.95 mills.
The 2014 proposed budget is available for public inspection at the Highspire borough building.
Council is expected to adopt a final budget at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17.