Township budget holds line on taxes

November 20, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Washington Township taxpayers will not see an increase in their real estate taxes for the 18th straight fiscal year, according to a preliminary budget approved this week by the township's supervisors.

Paul Benchoff, Washington Township Supervisors chairman, said the reason for the level tax situation is that the board tries to be as economical as possible while maintaining the township's quality of life.

"We've always tried to do only those things that are necessary," Benchoff said.

The proposed budget for fiscal 2003, which begins in January, is $6.5 million, down by $311,000 from the current year, Township Manager Mike Christopher said.


The township will collect about $235,000 in local property taxes next year, up from the $230,000 collected this year, Christopher said.

Because of the township's low 2.4-mill rate, real estate taxes account for only a small chunk of the overall budget, Christopher said.

"We've maintained the mill rate because we try to be as frugal as possible while meeting the needs of the community," he said.

Another reason for the low millage rate is the township has been able to get about $100,000 in grants every year, which helps to keep the tax rate down, Christopher said.

He credited the efforts of state Rep. Pat Fleagle and state Sen. Terry Punt, both R-Franklin, for bringing the grant money in.

The township also picks up about $1 million a year for its share of the earned income taxes collected on the wages of local workers.

There were slight increases in the police and fire/ambulance budgets next year, according to preliminary budget figures.

The police budget will increase by $26,000, while the fire/ambulance budget will rise by $7,000.

Public comments on the budget will be heard Dec. 2. The supervisors are expected to formally adopt the budget at their Dec. 16 meeting.

Benchoff credited Christopher and the township's employees for their fiscal efforts.

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