Penn Township budget contains no tax increase

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Penn Township commissioners have unanimously approved a 2014 budget that calls for no increase in the property tax rate.

The $8.5 million spending plan will keep the tax rate at 14.7 mills, with 1 mill specifically going to fund the township’s fire departments. Each mill generates about $245,000. The township anticipates a surplus of about $1.3 million by the end of 2024, according to township manager Bruce Light.

Also at the Dec. 16 meeting, the commissioners and staff bid farewell to Commissioner Charles Horvat, who has been on the board for 16 years and also has served as board chairman.

Mr. Horvat opted not to seek re-election, deciding it was time to retire from politics.

“You will be greatly missed,” Mr. Light told him at the conclusion of the commissioners' last business meeting of 2013.

Solicitor Les Mlakar, who has been the township’s legal consultant for about 40 years, said Mr. Horvat has been essential to the township’s success.

“I’ve seen the most 5-0 votes over the past 16 years than ever before,” said Mr. Mlakar, attributing the accomplishment to Mr. Horvat’s nonpartisan views and ability to coordinate compromises among his fellow commissioners.

"You don’t play politics," Mr. Mlakar told Mr. Horvat. "With you, there’s no red or blue. You play it straight.”

Commissioners Ed Sullivan, Paul Wersing, Jeff Shula and Larry Harrison also applauded Mr. Horvat for his service.

“I am humbled by the appreciation and thoughtfulness,” Mr. Horvat said. He added that he believes he has lived up to the campaign promise of being a “commissioner for the people.”

He said he and his colleagues have had their differences over the years, but they were always able to resolve them “for the best interest of Penn Township.”

At the start of the meeting, Mr. Horvat was presented with a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, recognizing him for his years of service.

Linda Metz, freelance writer:

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