Employees for Highland Township will get a small pay increase in 2013, the first since wages were frozen in 2008, according to outgoing Supervisor Triscia Pilchowski.
Pilchowski, who's last day was Friday, said the township board had been very conservative in their budgets throughout the years and were finally in a position to be able to give back to the township employees who have had their full-time hours cuts and wages frozen for at least four years.
"I am very happy with the 2013 budget," Pilchowski said. "I think we took the steps we needed to starting in 2003, and were able to carve back expenses and put us in the position we are in now. I think Highland Township is in a good place fiscally."
For 2013, the township is budgeted to bring in more than $2.2 million in revenue, and have $2.2 million in expenses.
The biggest expense incurred continues to be employee wages and benefits, along with retiree costs. The township is expected to spend more than $500,000 in general government personnel costs for 2013.
For revenue, while poperty taxes continue to decline, down approximately $80,000 from 2012, the township will bring in $310,500. The township will also receive a projected $1.4 million in sales tax revenue from the state.
The vote to approve the budget was made at a special meeting Friday morning, and the vote was unanimous in favor of the proposed budget. Township Trustee Russ Tierney was absent from the vote.
Tierney spoke about the budget during last week's township meeting Wednesday night, and stated he wasn't necessarily happy with the pay increases given in the 2013 budget - stating the township needs to be careful and to continue to be conservative with the taxpayers dollars.
"I think with the cost of health care continuing to rise and the retiree expenses we have, that we need to be careful with how we budget," he said.
Pilchowski said that while some members, like Tierney, might have had concerns with the pay increase, she didn't feel it was right to not give it under the circumstances, "We are in a good place now," she said. "In the years when we couldn't give those increases, we didn't. I don't think it's fair that in a year when we can afford to reward the employees that we don't. It's only a two percent increase and I think it was the right thing to do."