Journal Register News Service

LIMERICK -- Residents will not have to worry about an increase in their property taxes next year -- at least those incurred by the township -- after the board of supervisors approved its 2010 final budget Thursday night.

Although the news is great for property owners' pocketbooks, township employees might be a little more nervous.

Cutbacks and other cost-saving measures will be reviewed to pare a $614,000 deficit, Township Manager Dan Kerr said. Operating on a $7.64 million budget next year, the township will look at all options and search for other revenue streams to prevent tapping into its $5.5 million in reserves.

At the start of 2009, the township faced a $550,000 deficit but was able to drop that number to $100,000 after finding other revenue streams and outsourcing its zoning and code enforcement department.

Supervisors did approve hiking sewer rates by 8 percent to pay for upkeep of the department's equipment and repairs. The hike is not out of line with previous increases implemented by the sewer authority, township officials said. Residents can expect rates to increase in January but will not see them until their first-quarter bill.

Although supervisors had hoped Costco would contribute an additional $300,000 to fund a police officer position, the retail giant denied the request because it has already donated $750,000 to pay for general impacts to the township as a result of its development.

It also plans to contribute an additional $250,000 next year, leaving a total of $1 million in unrestricted money for supervisors to use on Costco impacts that affect the township.

Supervisors have the option to use that money for an officer, Kerr said, but they want to save it for road improvements that will be needed in the Sanatoga Springs area.

"You can't have good development if people can't get in there," he said. "We want to make sure traffic works, as well as everything else that is needed out there."

Supervisors approved Costco's request for preliminary and final planning, which allows the retailer to move forward in its quest to obtain approvals from outside agencies such as PennDOT and the conservation district.

"We're happy to move forward," said attorney Mitchell Campbell, a Costco attorney. He expects the retailer to be ready within the year, he added.

In other business:

Supervisor Elaine DeWan announced she will step down as chairwoman of the board next year. Her replacement will be voted on at the first meeting of the year, when supervisor-elect Tom Neafcy is sworn in.

Supervisors will consider changing the day it meets during the second and fourth weeks of the month that it meets. The board is considering Tuesday instead of Thursday. A decision will be made at the first Thursday meeting in 2010.

It was announced that residents will be able to drop off their Christmas trees at Limerick Community Park until Jan. 31.

An American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held in the township building from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30.

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