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Franklin Co. passes $114.9 million budget

November 30, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? Aside from a small increase in the library tax, the $114.9 million budget for Franklin County for 2008 was passed without changes Thursday by the Board of County Commissioners.

The property taxes for the general fund will remain at 21.15 mills for the general fund and debt service.

The board did vote Thursday to increase the library tax from 0.6 to 0.8 mills, the first change in at least a dozen years, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said.

Except for the library tax, Elliott said 2008 will be the sixth year of no tax increases in the past 11 years.

The budget is about $15 million less than the 2007 budget of $129.7 million, much of the decrease coming from completion of the Franklin County Jail and other capital improvement projects.

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Elliott said there is money in the new budget for completion of the Agricultural Heritage Center; upgrading the county's public safety radio system; relocation of the 911 center to a building in the Cumberland Valley Business Park; installation of a sprinkler system at the Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and $1.8 million for farmland preservation.

"It's a good budget," Elliott said. "The county's in great financial shape."

Taxes will remain an average of 40 percent less than surrounding counties, while the budgetary reserve will be about $7 million, he said.

"Some counties are unscrewing light bulbs in public buildings to save on electrical costs," considering layoffs and condemning county buildings because of financial difficulties, Elliott said.

"I'm delighted the ship of state is running well," said Commissioner-elect Bob Ziobrowski, who will be voting on budgets beginning next year. "If you're lame ducks, you're certainly flying high."

The county received 43 requests for additional personnel in 2008, with funding for 15 included in the budget, Elliott said. The county has about 850 full- and part-time employees.

Those employees did benefit from higher minimum wage, with the county recently eliminating its two lowest pay grades and thus bumping everyone up two grades.

The general fund, paid for primarily with county property taxes and charges for services, will be $34.5 million, according to the budget summary. Public safety tops the list of expenditures at $13 million, followed by about $8 million for judicial services, $7.8 million for general government expenses and $4.3 million in support to other county programs.

Most county programs are outside the general fund and are paid for largely by federal and state subsidies and service charges, which will total about $69 million in 2008. The biggest expenditure is for human services programs, budgeted at $51.3 million.

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