Pennsylvania law requires that all townships, prior to December 31, adopt a budget for the following calendar year. The Board of Supervisors must approve a preliminary budget at least 20 days prior to action on the final budget, and the public given notice of that preliminary budget.
Most of Millcreek’s annual revenues are receipts from different taxes, including those on real property, earned income, employed persons for local services and real estate transfers. Millcreek and the Millcreek School District share equally in funds from the earned income and realty transfer taxes. Millcreek receives over $1.6 million each year from the State’s liquid fuels tax and approximately $600,000 annually from cable television franchise fees. Smaller amounts are collected from a public utility tax, license and permit fees, fines, grants, rents, income on investments and other sources.
Millcreek’s budget categorizes expenses as debt service, employee benefits, administration, tax collection, fire protection and miscellaneous expense and among its engineering, maintenance, police, code enforcement, streets and recreation departments.
The amount of money collected from the earned income tax and from realty transfer tax depends on economic conditions. The current budget anticipates minimal increases because of the slowed growth in the general economy and in the housing market.
Liquid fuels funds are paid to the State from taxes on gasoline and other fuels. Part of the tax revenues are then allocated to municipalities and are to be used in paying expenses of streets improvement, maintenance, plowing and related services. The amount of that funding is dependent on how much is collected by the State.
Local governments, like everyone else, find themselves dealing with unexpected cost increases, contractions in supply and similar economic variables. Earlier in this decade, all governments, businesses and individuals had to deal with unanticipated and significant increases in insurance costs and oil prices, affecting fuel and asphalt.
Millcreek’s Supervisors and Treasurer Mark Zaksheske have consistently adopted budgets that project revenues realistically, while holding the line on expenses. Internal controls have been adopted to discourage unnecessary spending and ensure that proposed expenses are budgeted or necessary in the circumstances. Without increasing staff, Millcreek maintains an increasing number of streets and provides quality police protection
Millcreek has led joint purchasing efforts that have reduced costs paid for many products and materials. The Supervisors have worked with the township’s fire departments to preserve and improve volunteer fire protection services and with neighboring townships to develop an inter-municipal process for enforcing the Pennsylvania Construction Code. Because of these and other measures, property tax rates have increased minimally since 2003.
In recent years, Millcreek acquired land it is preserving as Veterans Park, in part with State grant funds. In 2009, Millcreek acquired the Erie Golf Club from the City of Erie. Originally opened in 1926, Millcreek completed extensive improvements to the property, which is now one of the finest municipal courses in the tri-state area.
Millcreek has acquired other lands to develop as regional storm water detention facilities. The six facilities help to reduce flooding from storms. Millcreek and the Millcreek Township Sewer Authority implemented costly improvements and have dealt with clean water discharges to the sanitary sewer system. Those improvements have eliminated sewage discharges, reduced flooding and sewer backups and reduced transportation and treatment costs.