WEYMOUTH TOWNSHIP — Township Committee raised the municipal tax rate at Wednesday’s meeting, but the increase was about half of what was originally proposed.

The committee members unanimously approved a 1.7-cent rate increase. Members originally proposed a 3.2-cent increase but acquiesced to residents who asked the committee to use more of the township’s surplus to pay for its costs.

The tax rate will now be 64.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The owner of a home with the average assessment of $122,253 will pay $785 a year in municipal taxes, an increase of about $21.

The 2013 budget will be $1,355,958, an increase of $93,853 over the current spending plan.

How much of the $336,000 in reserves the committee should use was a topic of conversation among residents who asked for no tax increase, which would have required about $30,000 of the surplus being used.

But committee members said they were concerned about using too much surplus money and how the small township would be able to raise new revenue in case of an emergency.

“(Reducing taxes) just to say we got it to zero is not a reason,” Committeeman Ken Haeser said.

Resident Pat Doerr said the township should be more focused on the needs of the residents than what may happen in the coming year.

“If you’re raising it this year because you are worried about next year you can get in a real dangerous cycle that way,” she said.

Resident Henry Goldsmith asked the committee to look “real hard” at the possibility of no increase.

“Anything you can do to keep the tax increase as close to zero as possible would be appreciated,” he said.

Goldsmith thanked the committee for the measure at the end of the meeting.

The committee decided to appropriate an additional $15,000 to reduce the tax increase by 1.5 cents. The township will use additional money to pay other costs and will have about $108,500 in the reserves when the fiscal year begins July 1.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Doyle said the committee owed it to the people to reduce the tax increase.

“They’re getting hit hard, and it’s driving them nuts,” he said. “It’s driving me nuts.”

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