Franklin Co. budget includes 3.5-mill tax hike

December 11, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- The Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioners on Thursday approved a $115.2 million budget that includes a 3.5-mill tax increase for property owners.

The increase amounts to approximately $36 for a property valued at $100,000, according to a news release.

The commissioners attributed the increase to a budget shortfall from an additional $1 million needed for Falling Springs Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, increased expenses for emergency services and higher contributions to pensions. Also, they said the value of real estate increased less than 2 percent, which was its smallest increase in 10 years.

"It is a bare-bones budget. Unlike many counties, we concentrate only on essential services," Commissioner Bob Thomas said in the news release.

The real estate tax rate was set at 24.65 mills.

Fiscal Director Teresa Beckner said the increase approved this week was the first tax hike in three years. The commissioners took $2.2 million out of their reserve fund last year to balance the budget.


Although the county has enacted a hiring freeze for all but "essential" employees, no layoffs are anticipated, the news release stated.

The budget includes 4 percent cost-of-living salary increases for county employees. Those employees will pay more for their health insurance.

Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski described "necessary costs" for the criminal justice system, which represents 73 percent of general fund expenditures.

"We won't cut corners when it comes to the safety of our citizens," he said.

The budget can be viewed at or at the commissioners' office at 14 N. Main St. in Chambersburg.

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