West Manchester Township residents may be doing a double-take when they see their tax bills in a month or so.

Instead of the 0.214 of a mill tax rate they've grown accustomed to seeing on their bills over the decades, this year they'll see the new rate: 0.8 of a mill.

It's the first tax hike for the township since Ronald Reagan was in the White House and Alex P. Keaton was on television.

That's about 30 or 35 years, said Kelly Kelch, the township manager.

"It might even be longer than that," he said. "It's long overdue at this point."

The increase: Supervisors recently approved the new millage rate, a roughly 274 percent increase over the old one, as part of the township's $7.8 million budget.

That means the owner of a home assessed at $150,000 will have a township real estate tax bill of $120 this year, a nearly $88 increase over the $32.10 the same homeowner paid yearly for decades.

Township officials were able to stave off a tax increase over the decades by curbing expenditures but have reached a point where they can't cut spending any longer.

The tax hike will amount to a roughly $800,000  influx for the township, helping to offset reduced or stagnant revenue streams, Kelch said.

That money will be used to increase township services, such as road maintenance projects and its yard waste program.

The added $800,000 seems like a large figure, but it costs about $200,000 to repave and revamp a couple of miles of road, Kelch pointed out.

"The residents are still getting a good bang for their buck," he said.

— Reach Greg Gross at

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