I read an interesting article in yesterday’s Daily Local about one of our neighbors, West Pikeland Township. If you are not sure where West Pikeland is located — this is the location of Chester Springs and historic Yellow Springs in the Rt. 113 area. This is a township that is very protective of open space (West Pikeland Land Trust) and historic preservation (historic Yellow Springs on Art School Road).
West Pikeland Township has increased its land ownership significantly over the last 10 years. The township made a lot of modifications/improvements in the township to satisfy the residents and help the local non-profits, particularly historic preservation. Due to increased open land purchases, a lot of revenue was lost. The township does not have large developments and therefore does not have developers helping with parks and services and no homeowner fees to maintain the parks, etc. This is interesting information because back in November when West Pikeland Township’s Board of Supervisors were discussing the 2010 budget, the community’s residents not only applauded their approval of a motion to increase the property’s taxes but also encouraged the supervisors to raise them higher!
This week the West Pikeland Board of Supervisors voted to reopen the township’s budget in order to increase taxes once again. The board will increase taxes for the first time in approximately 30 years when it moved from 0.125 up to 0.2 mills. But the plan now is to move the tax rate to 0.5 mills, quadrupling the 2009 tax rate. The motion to reopen the budget and increase taxes will be used specifically for maintenance and infrastructure in the township. Although the supervisors recognized that these are difficult times, it was also recognized by supervisors that taxes have not been increased in 30 years. The community residents openly supports continued open land purchases and contributions to preserving historic resources but it is understood that there is also a cost to maintain the township’s infrastructure. Residents currently pay between $30 and $40 per year in property taxes in West Pikeland on the average. Now they will pay between $120 and $160. I know, I know, their property taxes are very low but I am still fascinated that because West Pikeland Board of Supervisors and residents hold open land purchase and historic preservation protection in such high regard, that they will applaud a tax increase that will essentially quadruple the 2009 rate. As an aside, the township cuts its expenses by 10% in the initial budget process.
I offer this as interesting local information on a neighboring municipality. Historic Yellow Springs and the surrounding West Pikeland area offers some of the most beautiful Chester County vistas.