Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Next year Berks County property owners can expect the first county tax increase in eight years: between about 5 and 8 percent.
The amount will depend on negotiations with labor unions that represent county workers, county commissioners said Tuesday during their workshop session.
Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said that in a worst-case scenario a 2.5 percent increase in wages would cost the county $3.2 million in 2013. Covering that, plus an expected deficit this year of $9.5 million and cuts in state funding would require an 8 percent increase in taxes, he said.
Property owners currently pay a rate of 6.935 mills, or $693.50 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.
Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After much discussion and two joint meetings, Mount Penn Borough Council and the Lower Alsace supervisors agreed Monday to move forward with a study of the pros and cons of merging or consolidating the municipalities.
Council then voted to approve a $22,500 contract with the Pennsylvania Economy League for the study. Lower Alsace had approved the contract in May after the first joint municipality meeting, contingent on Mount Penn’s involvement.
Councilman Thomas Smith said the study would provide the information needed to help supervisors and council decide whether merging or consolidating would be beneficial to both municipalities and their residents.
Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Wyomissing School District has reached an agreement with Reading Hospital in an ongoing dispute over tax-exempt status for hospital properties in the district.
On Monday the hospital announced that it had agreed to provide $408,500 in annual health-related services to the district in an effort to help offset the annual deficit caused by decreases to state funding and local tax revenue, as well as mandated increases in the Public School Employee Retirement System contributions.
The agreement puts an end to the district’s efforts to increase the amount of property tax it collects from the hospital. However, it does not include a pending tax assessment appeal by The Highlands at Wyomissing.