Woodward Township to approve no-tax-hike budget

The no-tax-hike 2014 Woodward Township budget now is open for public comment and “intended for approval at the Dec. 18 (township supervisors) meeting,” according to secretary Judith Carpenter.

The township general fund will break even with a proposed budget of $315,079 and expenses of $315,079.

“General government” is the township’s largest expense, at $84,647. That includes expenditures of $24,985 for buildings and $23,540 for secretarial services.

The next-largest expenditure is road and bridge maintenance and repairs, at $64,019. The road superintendent’s salary constitutes the bulk of that expenditure, at $38,934.

Public safety is anticipated to cost $62,455 in 2014, with $40,314 of that figure going toward fire tax expense. The township has allocated $36,085 for highways, roads and streets. The remaining expenses are $10,000 or less.

Supervisors also acknowledged that a draft of the Lycoming County Transportation Plan Update is available for public review and comment at They did not comment on the proposed plan.

In other business, citizens complained about the recent zoning hearing board approval of a variance to Robert and Mary Bird for subdivision of property less than two acres.

Township residents questioned whether the variance would set a precedent for the approval of additional non-conforming lots.

“No, because by its very nature a variance is specific to that property,” solicitor Marc Drier explained.

The township originally had recommended the variance not be approved, a decision the Birds appealed.

Township residents asked whether the planning commission could refuse to give its stamp of approval to the board’s decision to grant a variance. While they theoretically could, a mandamus action could be taken that orders the township to grant the approval anyway, according to Drier.

A mandamus action “is a legal action to force officials to do what they have no legal reason not to do,” Drier said.