April 23, 2024

Residents disappointed after Ridley Park voted to approve 17% property tax hike: “It’s unfair, just plain wrong”

RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (CBS) — Borough officials in Ridley Park voted Thursday to approve a 17% property tax increase. The vote came amid a fury of questions and disapproval from residents.

Dozens packed Thursday night’s special meeting inside Ridley Park’s Borough Hall concerned about claims nearby Taylor Hospital has refused to pay more than $363,000 in property taxes, leaving taxpayers on the hook to foot the bill.

“It’s unfair and just plain wrong to burden the taxpayers of Ridley Park with this historic tax rate,” one person said.

Earlier in December, Ridley Park alerted residents and business owners that to close the gap in next year’s budget, taxes would be raised by 17%.

“Not just for seniors on a fixed income but families struggling to get by — nobody has that kind of disposable income. This is a small town with 7,000 residents,” Mary Pat King said.

Council President Dane Collins told CBS News Philadelphia that Taylor Hospital, part of the Crozer Health system under parent company Prospect Medical Holdings, is the borough’s single largest taxable property.

A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed it is challenging the borough’s tax assessment, which is how its tax bill is calculated.

In a statement, it said, “Crozer Health has been in active negotiations with the taxing authorities to determine the fair market value of the property.”

While Prospect is expected to offer a settlement amount, Borough rules say a budget must be approved before year end. The council approved this tax hike in a final vote of 6-1.

Many residents argue that budget cuts should have been considered before imposing this tax burden.

“Very disappointing,” Mike Dougherty said. “Every little thing should be cut until we decide what we were gonna do.”

If and when a settlement with Prospect is reached, the current budget can be amended up through Feb. 15.

The average homeowner could see their borough tax bill increase by $323 in property taxes.

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