Approved at the Dec. 15, 2003 meeting, the Charlestown Township's millage rate was lowered from one mill to .75. The resolution was passed as part of the budget.

"Residents are certainly going to save money on real estate taxes," said Kevin Kuhn, chairman of Charlestown Township's board of supervisors. The reduction will save residents 25 percent on their real estate taxes.

Tax millage was raised in 2003 due to township projects and loss of revenue from reduced construction. Supervisors were able to trim the budget in 2004 and chose to lower millage. Real estate valuation is $500,381,600 for the township.

Conversely, the .5 percent earned income tax, which was enacted by a vote of the supervisors in July, took effect Jan. 1, 2004. After a referendum to residents, the moneys will be dedicated to open space.

"The board felt they needed to take action if they wanted to preserve open space in the next few years," said Linda Csete, township secretary. Charlestown previously had an open space fund but wanted to increase activity with it.

The tax revenue will be used "solely for open space projects," said Kuhn, "That can include a lot of things but it won't go to a new township building." The effect on residents will differ on an individual basis.

Many Charlestown residents, about 80 percent, already pay an earned income tax for the township in which they work. Creating an earned income tax in Charlestown will capture those funds that were lost to other townships of those workers.

Berkheimer Associates conducted a study that found the township was losing more than $300,000 to other townships with earned income taxes, said Kuhn. Charlestown income tax will replace the tax for the township that an individual works in, and their savings or increase will vary.

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