Borough Council OKs $57 million budget for 2003

December 18, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG - The Chambersburg Borough Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a $57 million budget for 2003 that keeps the tax rate steady.

The budget sets the tax rate at 12.2 mills for the 14th straight year, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said.

"There is no change in the tax rate. To council's credit, we have had the same millage rate council has set for the last 14 years," he said.

One mill equals $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed real estate value.

Since unveiling the budget in October and approving a preliminary version last month, Oyer said there were some "housekeeping changes" that added $10,000 to the final budget.


Council President Bill McLaughlin commended the borough staff for keeping the final budget so close to the original projection.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • A 3 percent pay raise to all borough personnel, except firefighters and police officers, who are in arbitration with the borough for new contracts.

  • A 10 percent increase in the sewer rate, which translates to about $1.40 per month more for residential customers.

  • The continuation of an ambitious public works program outlined last year. Projects in 2003 will total $405,000 and include the overlay of Coldbrook Avenue, Hood Street, Grandview Avenue, Long Lane and Paper Mill Road and stormwater drainage upgrades to Brandon Drive and Stanley Avenue.

  • A makeover of Memorial Square. The $17,000 budgeted for the project will cover the costs of landscaping and maintenance. The project was budgeted in 2002, but due to drought conditions it has been postponed.

Oyer has said preparing the 2003 budget was particularly difficult because the borough faced substantial increases in health insurance costs and jumps in premiums for property and liability insurance that range from 20 to 30 percent.

He said the borough was able to avoid a tax increase by juggling transfers from funds to offset additional expenditures, including decreasing the cash balance.

The 2003 budget takes nearly $1 million from the cash balance to make ends meet, he said.

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