Real estate tax won't increase for Bally Borough residents, but 2016 quarterly water and sewer bills will.The Bally Borough Council voted 3-1 Tuesday to adopt a $6.4 million budget for 2016 that will not require a property tax increase, but in November, officials agreed to a 71 percent increase in the combined water and sewer rate to cover an estimated $2.1 million infrastructure improvement.Officials said improvements would fix a state corrective action plan and include a new well north of the borough, repairing more than 50 percent of borough pipes and replacing an aging water reservoir tank.
According to borough council President Glenn Mutter, combined rates for minimum usage would increase by $80 quarterly to $227 from about $147.Several residents wondered why the rates will go up now before much of the work is done.Borough Solicitor Matthew Doll said the plans have not yet been approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection but assured the public that preparations are underway.Mutter said later that those preparations include buying a property north of the borough for the well, installing meters, a pad for the reservoir and waiting for several heavy rains to do testing compliant with DEP.In August, a plan was submitted to DEP addressing a large amount of water infiltration into the sewer.Meanwhile, the real estate tax rate will remain at 5 mills, or $500 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.Councilman David Isett voted no on the budget and declined to comment.Mutter abstained from the vote because his father is borough manager, and Mathew Gehman abstained due to his family's involvement with the borough pool.
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