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News is good for many taxpayers in Franklin Co.

December 07, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Christmas appears to have come early for many property owners in Franklin County.

According to preliminary budgets that are due to be approved by the end of the month, property taxes for 2007 are likely to stay the same across most of the southern part of the county.

Officials in Antrim Township, Washington Township, and the boroughs of Greencastle and Waynesboro will vote on budgets in December that call for property taxes to remain at current rates.

Another present to taxpayers: Officials announced Tuesday that the Franklin County budget also is expected to be funded without any real estate property tax hikes.

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Representatives of the four municipalities say increased employment has allowed for tax rates to remain static in the preliminary spending plans.

"We have record employment in Washington Township and are generating about 10 to 15 percent more in earned income taxes," Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

Christopher explained that everyone who works pays the earned income tax.

For residents in the municipalities of Washington, Antrim, Greencastle and Waynesboro, earned income tax rates are also likely to stay the same if the preliminary budgets are adopted.

"As our community has grown, what we generate from earned income taxes has also grown," Antrim Township manger Ben Thomas said.

While none of the four municipalities plans to raise property or earned income tax rates, all four expect to generate more funding from both taxes.

"We have more money coming in from the existing rates because of the amount of people working and living in the area," Christopher said.

The only municipality in the area slated to see any tax increase for 2007 is Waynesboro Borough, which proposed a $40 emergency and municipal services (EMS) tax.

Lloyd Hamberger, borough manager for Waynesboro, said the EMS tax replaces the occupational privilege tax and is levied annually on people working in the borough of Waynesboro regardless of where they live.

Hamberger said revenue from the EMS tax can be used to repair roads or deter the cost of police and fire services.

Despite the ability of all four municipalities to balance the budgets without property or earned income tax increases, some of the proposed spending plans included controversial line items.

In its final budget, the Borough of Greencastle increased spending for police by 4 percent.

Ken Myers, Greencastle borough manager, said the budget includes additional funds for hiring up to four full-time police officers.

However, Greencastle Mayor Robert Eberly said "just because the money is budgeted, does not mean it will be spent."

At the monthly council meeting Monday, council member Harold Duffy opposed the increase saying, "We are spending too much on police."

Greencastle is the only municipality in the area to adopt a final budget. The other municipalities expect to vote on final budgets this month.




Tax man cometh



Projected revenue from real estate taxes for 2007:

Washington Township: $498,000

Antrim Township: $250,000

Borough of Greencastle: $409,000

Borough of Waynesboro: $1,019,000

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