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Township budget includes first tax hike in 18 years

December 18, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The first tax hike in 18 years to cover a budget increase and a new employment contract with the township's police officers was approved earlier this week by the Washington Township Supervisors.

The mill rate will go up from 2.2 this year to 4.4 next year, an increase that should net another $200,000 for the township coffers, Township Administrator Michael A. Christopher said Wednesday

The budget for fiscal year 2004, which runs on a calendar year, is up by $1.1 million over the current year's appropriations, Christopher said. Income also is up.

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The new budget rounds out to $7.9 million compared to this year's budget, Christopher said.

The hike in the mill rate means the owner of a home assessed at $17,000 will see taxes go from about $42 this year to $77 next year.

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

Among causes for the budget hike are higher contributions for the employees pension fund and money to start a 10-year effort to improve the approximately 80 miles of township roads.

On tap for improvements and repaving in 2004 are heavily traveled Stottlemyer, Gehr and Amsterdam roads, Christopher has said.

Once the main roads have been done, the township will turn its attention to secondary roads, he said.

The new police contract calls for a 2 percent pay raise for the officers in 2004, 2.5 percent in 2005 and 3 percent in 2006, Christopher said.

The police department has 12 officers, including Chief Barry Keller.

The starting salary for a rookie cop this year is $35,975. Under the new contract, the starting salary jumps to $36,695 next year, Christopher said.

The contract goes into effect Jan. 1.

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