East Penn Press

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ron W. Beitler announces re-election bid

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Local News

Ron W. Beitler, 38, a small business owner, life-long resident of Lower Macungie Township and an advocate for farmland preservation, has announced his intention to run for re-election for Lower Macungie Township Commissioner.

“I ran for commissioner four years ago to pursue a better and more balanced way for Lower Macungie to grow and move forward. Over the last few years, we’ve made great strides. I am seeking re-election based on those results and my record of accomplishments.”

Beitler believes his most important achievement was spearheading an aggressive farmland and open space preservation strategy. The result has been the preservation of multiple farms and the Shepherd Hills Golf Course in 2016. The township has an additional three farms with new or active applications for preservation in 2017. Since Beitler took office, Lower Macungie has preserved or has in the short-term pipeline plans to preserve more than 300 acres of farmland and open space. An additional 400 additional acres of priorities have been identified for preservation on the township’s official map.

Beitler said he is pleased with the progress but indicates there is more work to do.

“This is just the beginning. We’ve worked hard to lay the groundwork over the last three years. Many big wins. A very good start. But we’re nowhere near finished. And we’re doing all this in a responsible fashion. We are preserving farmland not only without tax increases but with having actually lowered residential property tax bills.

“Keeping taxes sustainably low is a priority,” Beitler said.

After prior leadership re-instituted a property tax for the first time in 11 years in 2013, Beitler in 2014 proposed a plan to immediately reduce residential property tax bills over a two-year period through an innovative use of the homestead exclusion.

As a result of its implementation, 1,100 township households saw their property tax bills rolled back to zero. Eighty percent of the remaining saw a reduction on a sliding scale over a two-year period. This was done while ensuring highly impactful land uses that create public liabilities like warehouses and very large shopping centers continue to pay a fair share based on measurable liabilities created.

“Today, despite being the third largest municipality in the county, Lower Macungie has the lowest effective residential property taxes,” he said.

A fiscal conservative, Beitler has voted against taxpayer subsidized corporate welfare and against large scale discretionary spending. The most high profile position being his opposition to taxpayer subsidies for a very large new shopping center.

“We are in a strong position where we don’t have to subsidize commercial development in this township. We are a highly desirable location for new businesses. Corporate welfare is an unnecessary handout of taxpayer money. The township should not be engaged in picking winners and losers,” Beitler said.