To the editor:
As the Chairman of the Board of the Armagh Township Supervisors, I would like to respond to the letter from Amy Seachrist, published on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
Contrary to what Ms. Seachrist stated in her letter, Armagh Township is not in the midst of a financial crisis. Like all townships and counties, there is an ebb and flow of finances. There are several accounts from which payments can be made. The General account can be used for payment of any bills. The Equipment Tax account is limited to equipment, from which we were able to take funds to pay off our final $20,000 payment on the Mack truck this month. We also have the Liquid Fuels account mentioned by Ms. Seachrist. Her understanding of this account is incorrect. While there are restrictions, there are many approved expenditures from the Liquid Fuels account that she is apparently unaware of, including but not limited to, fuel, road materials, computer hardware/software, and yes, even the wages and benefits of road crews and employees performing work on township roads. The past harsh winter was very costly, in wages, salt purchases and fuel in the trucks to maintain the roads. All of these expenses are authorized expenditures for the Liquid Fuels account. Since the township manager is able to utilize all accounts and transfer funds, we have always had the money to pay our bills and make payroll. That is why townships have managers.
Ms. Seachrist also suggests that our expenses are increasing at an alarming rate; this is not true. Her statement that there was a 32 percent increase in employee compensation is very misleading. Our township has the lowest pay rate for its road employees compared to bordering townships and they have received no pay raise this year. Taxes in Armagh Township are the third lowest in Mifflin County and have not been raised in 15 years. We easily could have increased taxes this year but the decision was made not to do that. As Ms. Seachrist states, we are operating on a very lean budget. I believe we should do all we can to keep taxes low, as opposed to creating a fat bank account on the backs of the taxpayers. Many of our residents are living on a lean budget. It's just common sense that we as a township should operate on a lean budget as well.
As our township continues to grow my goal as a township supervisor is to try to provide the people of our township a comfortable and safe environment where we can live and raise our families.
We will never be able to please everybody, but for the most part, the residents of Armagh Township have been very positive with our progress.
Chairman of the Board
Armagh Township Supervisors