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Conservative budget keeps township in the black

July 14, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, PA. -- Antrim Township Supervisors said they erred on the side of conservatism in 2008 when drafting the current budget.

Now, six months later, even with cutting $267,000 in tax revenue, that thrifty approach is keeping the township safely in the black.

Unlike neighboring municipalities, Antrim Township will not have to "trim fat," put projects on hold or re-evaluate staffing needs to balance its 2009 budget, Administrator Brad Graham said Tuesday.

Board Chairman Curtis Myers drafted the budget when he was serving as interim township administrator last fall.

Myers said he anticipated then some of the economic pressures only just now being felt by municipalities across Pennsylvania.

"When we did the budget, we knew the economy was turning and we took a very conservative approach," he said.

Anticipating downgraded revenue from interest, landfill fees and earned income taxes has helped balance the township's bottom line, Graham said.

"We are just about where we should be," he said.

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Going through some of the budget's major line items, Graham noted that some things are up and some are down. Other items are pretty much breaking even, he said.

Year-to-date general fund revenue is $1,311,125. Year-to-date general fund expenditures are $1,538,198.

Graham said the township anticipated having less revenue from the general fund and budgeted accordingly.

Local tax revenue, from earned income taxes and real estate transfer taxes, is ahead of budget at 57.9 percent, despite the number of jobs lost by township residents, he said.

"Fifty percent would be meeting our anticipated revenue almost dollar for dollar at the halfway point," he said. "At 57.9 percent, we are receiving more than we anticipated."

Also ahead are fines and forfeits, which are generating 167 percent of what was budgeted for the first six months of 2009.

However, some revenue is down, including interest on township accounts, which has only brought in 16 percent of what the board anticipated in the fall.

Year-to-date expenditures are only slightly off from the budget, he said.

Graham said the township has seen some imbalance of expenditures with the number of plans holding steady, engineering and legal fees increasing, and only 20 percent of the budgeted $2.5 million having been spent at the park.

Graham credited the balanced budget to the forethought of the supervisors and past staff members.

He also said the August restructuring and elimination of six upper-level employees helped reduce expenditures.

Still, Graham said he will keep a close eye on the numbers over the next six months to ensure that the township stays safely in the black.

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