Washington Township budget for 2010 is tight

November 13, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors scrutinized almost every dollar in the first draft of their 2010 budget on Thursday with the intent to keep tax rates the same.

Township Manager Mike Christopher presented a preliminary $4.35 million budget he said was very difficult to balance.

"There is no comfort. All it takes is one item, and you have a disaster on your hands," he said.

The supervisors in the spring adjusted their 2009 budget to reduce expenditures and better reflect diminished revenues.

Property tax revenue year-to-date is actually exceeding the revised 2009 budget amount. The supervisors budgeted $543,000 in revenue from real estate taxes, but received $561,000 so far.

Christopher estimated $565,000 in real estate revenue for 2010.

For 2009, the supervisors revised the budget to show $1.7 million for other local taxes and received $1.5 million year to date. Christopher recommended the supervisors budget $1.6 million from other local taxes, such as earned income and per capita, in 2010.


However, Supervisor Carroll Sturm convinced the rest of the board to cut the real estate transfer tax projection by $500,000.

Christopher suggested the supervisors talk further about enacting a local services tax, which they rejected several months ago. That $52 tax would replace the occupational privilege tax and would be levied on people working in the township, regardless of where they live.

The supervisors delayed discussion on the local services tax, focusing instead of a line-by-line review of cuts they individually proposed. Largely led by Supervisor Stephen Kulla, they reduced the amounts planned for office repairs, police department general expenses, police uniforms, police investigative supplies, communications radios, tires and more.

They reduced the amount dedicated each year for police cruisers, which they traditionally try to save for and replace one every three years. After cuts, the public works department was left with $6,000 for any equipment purchases.

The supervisors identified $51,300 worth of cuts they want to see made in the general fund for the final budget.

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