The Salisbury Board of Commissioners are trying to find a way to add a new police officer and two public works employees to the proposed 2013 budget without a large tax increase.
With the general fund's operating expenses projected at $6,098,608 and revenue at $5,816,300, the township faces a projected $282,000 deficit next year.
Township Manager Randy Soriano told the board at their meeting last week that although he was not proposing a tax increase, if the township increases personnel "it has to be sustainable. You have to raise some revenue."
The question remained, he said, "how do you want to make up the $282,000 [deficit]?"
The township has used its $5 million fund balance over the years to make up deficits. "At some point you're going to have to stop taking from your fund balance and raise revenue, or hope the economy gets better," Soriano said.
Commissioner Joanne Ackerman said the township should not keep relying on dipping into its reserve fund.
"I don't want to deplete the surplus...I think it's very important we try to live within our budget," she said.
Salisbury Township has not had a tax increase in 14 years and has actually decreased taxes in some years. Township millage is currently 3.82 mills.
President James Brown said he would be in favor of a small increase now rather than a much larger one later. "We don't want to kill the taxpayer," Brown said.
"I think our citizens deserve quality of service. If it means hiring police officers or [the public works department] adding two people, it's going to cost," he said.
The addition of two public works employees would cost $72,447, and a police officer would cost $84,649.
Commissioner Debra Brinton said even if the board decides not to add personnel, the township could use the revenue raised from a tax increase in some other way.
"We are a small township and we don't have a lot of room for business expansion," Brinton said.