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Antrim Township hopes to OK preliminary budget next week

November 01, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Antrim Township supervisors finished a series of preliminary budget discussions Tuesday night, including proposals to allocate funds to the future municipal complex and a possible future police force. The discussions also included a deficit in the general fund.

Antrim Township Manager Ben Thomas said Wednesday that the proposed 2008 budget is in line with the 2007 budget, with the exception of increases due to inflation.

The proposed allocation of $2,486,000 for phases three, four and five of the Antrim Township Community Park brought the Antrim Township general fund into a $2.14 million deficit, according to Thomas. Total general fund expenditures came to $5.9 million.

Increasing costs of road reconstruction also put the township in the red.

"The cost of road work has increased by about 30 percent in the past three years due to the cost of oil," Thomas said.

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The deficit is unusual for the township.

"We've always had a balanced budget," Thomas said.

To meet the deficit, Antrim Township will have to dip into its reserve funds. The general reserve fund contains $7.7 million and the capital reserve fund contains $4.486 million, Thomas said.

It is up to the board of supervisors to decide which reserve fund will be used to pay for the deficit, Thomas said.

Antrim Township officials proposed that $4 million be allotted to the future municipal complex. These funds will be transferred from the landfill fund to the general fund, Thomas said.

"These (landfill) funds are derived from agreements with Mountain View Reclamation with their landfill located in portions of Montgomery and Antrim townships," Thomas said.

Some of these funds are restricted to park capital projects, the fire department and advanced life support services, he said.

"The rest of the funds are held in escrow and have been invested through the years," according to Thomas. "The unrestricted funds now total over $4 million."

Using these unrestricted funds would not require the township to borrow money or increase taxes to fund the proposed government center.

Over the past four years, the township has set aside $200,000 annually for a future police force, Thomas said. This was also proposed at Tuesday's meeting.

Antrim Township officials said previously they were recommending no increase in property taxes.

The township's property tax rate will remain at 2 mills. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

Each mill generates about $128,750 in revenue, Thomas said during Tuesday's meeting.

The Antrim Township Supervisors must make a decision on the preliminary budget at their Tuesday meeting. If the preliminary budget is approved at that time, it will be advertised and put online for residents to view.

The final adoption of the budget would be scheduled for the Dec. 11 meeting.

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