Manchester Mayor Michael Fressola is asking that taxpayers remain "patient" as bills are adjusted to reflect the township's change to a calendar year operation and the thousands of tax appeals filed.
Officials in May authorized the switch from a July through June fiscal year operation to a January through December plan. Changing the cycle from a state fiscal year to a calendar fiscal year "is in the best interest of the taxpayers," according to the ordinance first introduced by the Township Council on April 24.
"Due to this change, residents received an estimated tax bill which is required by state law during this process," Fressola said in a prepared statement. "The estimated bill indicates a lump sum payment which includes school, county, municipal and open space taxes due. This estimate is very rough because of the more than 2,000 tax appeals that were taken by homeowners and business owners in town" in 2012.
In 2011, 785 appeals were filed, according to tax assessor Martin Lynch.
Those whose tax appeals are approved will see the adjustment on their fourth quarter bill, Fressola said. Final tax bills issued in November will have actual costs.
The appeals have hit the township "hard," the mayor said, because of a required payment to the school district.
"Although refunds or credits are issued to the taxpayer, the township is still required by law to pay the school’s portion in full," Fressola said.
While Manchester has no control over the real estate market, Fressola said that administrators are exercising "restraint and control in spending."
Because of this, Fressola said that the finance office expects the amount to be raised by taxation in the upcoming budget will be less than the more than $20.5 million required last year.
This "is remarkable and reflects the hard work and sacrifice of our staff and employees," Fressola said.
The township currently is running on a temporary six month budget that was approved in June as part of the transition to a calendar year operation. CFO Diane Lapp has said that the the 2013 budget is expected to be introduced in August and voted on for adoption in September.
In an effort to reduce the amount of appeals going forward, a town-wide reassessment will be completed for the 2013 tax cycle and Lynch will update property values on a yearly basis.
Fressola said that the continual reassessments will bring "fairness and equality in the taxing structure."