There are hurried times when just $5 in gasoline would come in pretty handy, but Newberry Township residents can decide for themselves what to do with the extra fiver they'll have to spend this year.
Supervisors at Tuesday night's board meeting voted to repeal the decades-old ordinance that authorized the collection of a $5 per capita tax, saying the inconvenience and expense of collecting the tax exceeds its value as a revenue maker.
Township manager Don Keener said the discussion started after the township's tax collector wasn't happy with the 25-cents-per-bill pay rate for the taxes, which were paid by about 10,500 township residents age 18 and older.
The tax generated about $40,000 per year. If the township collected the tax with its staff or contracted an outside collection agency, the net yield would be even less, about $20,000, because of the cost of postage, envelopes, and the time to collect it.
"We looked at other methods of collection and the inconvenience of the taxpayers and decided it best to consider repealing it," Keener said. "There are a lot of townships that don't have the $5 head tax anymore, because the cost for collection is not worth it. I'm sure people will be happy they don't have to pay the tax, even if it's $5."
The township's 2014 budget called for no tax increase, with millage staying at 1.79, Keener said, but township officials are confident they can absorb the lost $40,000 in revenue through cost-saving measures.
Over the past few years, the township has saved money by reducing staff and trimming expenses, such as pulling its participation from the West Shore Recreation Commission to save $33,000, he said.
When the township participated with the recreation commission, residents were able to get discounts and early registration for programs, Keener said.
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