Pa. taxpayers face slight rate changes, if any

December 28, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - For the 15th year in a row, local real estate taxes will remain steady at 6 mills for Washington Township, Pa., property owners

One mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

Elsewhere in Southern Franklin County, taxpayers will see little or no change in their annual tax bills, according to local administrators.

Pennsylvania townships, boroughs and counties operate on calendar years beginning on Jan. 1, while and school boards run on fiscal years from July 1 through June 30.

Washington Township Administrator Mike Christopher said the $6 million annual budget for calendar year 2000 is down slightly from the 1999 allocation, mostly because a $900,000 state grant will now be administered by the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. The money goes to the new Wharf Road Industrial Park under construction in the township's west end.


The development corporation is an arm of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

While Washington Township residents won't see a tax hike, they will be paying more to get rid of their trash beginning Jan. 1. The township's transfer station operates on a self-supporting basis and costs are going up, Christopher said. A rate increase is needed to maintain the existing level of service, he said.

The per-bag rate goes from $1.25 to $1.50. Tonnage rates climb from $65 to $70. The charge for dumping at the recycling center is also going up, from $20 to $25 per truckload, Christopher said. This will make up for extra costs incurred by the township for separating broken glass and trash that some residents put into their recycling containers.

The mill rate for Antrim Township taxpayers will stay the same next year at 5 mills to support the community's $1.8 million budget, according to Township Administrator Ben Thomas.

Antrim Township is taking a $5,000 decrease in its property tax revenues resulting from a reassessment of Grove Worldwide in Shady Grove, Pa. The giant crane maker requested the reassessment, which will cost the Greencastle-Antrim School District $235,000 a year in tax income, officials have said.

In Waynesboro, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said that community's tax rate of 29 mills will stay the same next year to support the borough's $5.5 million budget. Borough residents also pay 53/4 mills for street lights. That stays the same, too.

Taxpayers, however, will face a new expense this year in the form of a 11/2 mill library tax, which they will now pay to the Franklin County Commissioners.

Until now, the borough made an annual contribution of $33,000 to the library. This year, library board members decided to shift over to the county so they could be eligible for state matching funds that go only to libraries supported by counties.

"It's just shifting the burden to the county," Hamberger said.

He said the $33,000 that the borough will not have to spend on the library will go into other expenses, including increasing salaries.

Greencastle, Pa., taxpayers will see a slight hike in their tax rate, from 25.5 mills to 26.5 mills. Their counterparts in Mercersburg, Pa., will see the same 26 mill rate next year, spokespersons in those boroughs said.

Franklin County real estate tax rates will go up 2.75 mills, according to the preliminary budget passed Dec. 9 by the Board of County Commissioners. A final vote on the county's $59 million budget is set for Thursday.

If approved, the county's tax hike will increase the average property owner's annual bill by $16.50.

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