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Township budget includes 2-mill tax hike

November 19, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The beginning of a 10-year effort to improve the 80 miles of public roads that traverse Washington Township is going to cost local taxpayers more money beginning next year, according to a preliminary 2004 budget approved by the Township Supervisors this week.

The proposed 2-mill tax hike, from 2.4 to 4.4 mills, would be the first property tax hike in 18 years, Township Administrator Michael Christopher said. If the budget is adopted, real estate taxes would nearly double.

The tax on an average home in the township would increase from $42 to about $78 next year.

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

The new budget calls for an increase of nearly $1 million over this year's appropriation in the township's overall budget - $6,762,000 to $7,728,350 - a difference of $966,350 or more than 14 percent higher, Christopher said.

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The township's general fund budget, which includes normal operating expenses, combined with the state fund budget, which includes the municipality's share of Pennsylvania's gasoline tax, goes from $3.2 million to $3.8 in 2004.

The fiscal year follows the calendar year beginning Jan. 1.

"The supervisors felt that the roads in the township have been neglected long enough," Christopher said Tuesday. The money generated by 1 mill, about $100,000, will be added to the township's highway fund this year to bring the line item's total budget up to $620,000.

Money to resurface roads also will come from the capital budget account, which is going from $218,000 to $370,000 next year, a $152,000 increase.

Main roads, including heavily traveled Stottlemyer, Gehr and Amsterdam roads, will be first on the resurfacing list for next year, Christopher said. Once the main road system has been done, the township will turn to secondary roads. The overall resurfacing project will take about 10 years, he said.

The Washington Township Police Department will get $51,000 more this year for higher wages for the force's 12 officers, plus replacement costs for three police cruisers.

The supervisors this week signed a tentative three-year contract with the local police association, which would begin Jan. 1. The details won't be disclosed until the officers vote on the contract later this week, Christopher said.

The supervisors will hear public comments Dec. 1 and possibly will adopt the budget Dec. 15.

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