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No tax hikes in borough's budget

December 17, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - It has been a few years since real estate taxes have increased in Waynesboro and the Borough Council voted Wednesday night to hold the line again in 2009, keeping property taxes at 17.18 mills.

At the same time, the borough's nonunion employees will see an increase of 3 percent in salary and wages in the $9.6 million budget. The 20 officers and patrolmen of the police department will get 4 percent in 2009 under the terms of their contract, while the five paid drivers for the fire department will receive a 3 percent increase under their current contract, said Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger.

"I'm always very conservative in estimating receipts and I always look at the worst case in expenditures," Hamberger said of his estimates in the spending package.

With taxes remaining at $17.18 for every $1,000 of assessed value on properties, the budget estimates collections in the coming year at $1,067,000. Earned income tax revenues are projected at $785,000 and realty transfer taxes revenues - a tax on the sale of property - are expected to bring in $175,000.

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The emergency and municipal services tax will bring in an estimated $200,000 and transfers from the water and sewer departments to the general find will total another $878,000, according to budget figures.

Total receipts for the general fund from all sources are expected to be approximately $4.5 million, while expenditures are estimated at $4.6 million. The shortfall will be closed using cash reserves, Hamberger said.

"We estimate we'll begin the year with about $840,000 and end the year with about $700,000," Hamberger said of the borough's reserve fund.

Council president Craig Newcomer said he was confident in Hamberger's estimates.

"Every year that he has done this we have come well within the margin of error," Newcomer said.

Fire Chief Dave Martin informed the council that the department recently received a $133,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to replace its mobile and portable radios and pagers with communications gear compatible with Franklin County's soon-to-be-upgraded public safety radio system.

The cost of replacing the department's system will be about $222,000, Martin told the council.

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