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Franklin Co. Commissioners holding line on budget

December 03, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- A week away from adopting a preliminary budget for 2010, the Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioners say they hope to enter the new year without a tax increase, but aren't in a position to make guarantees.

Fiscal Director Teresa Beckner said she's still preparing the figures, but she expects the budget will resemble the revised version of 2009's budget. In March, the commissioners asked department managers to cut 8 percent from their allotted spending.

"We're diligently reviewing the budget for anything that looks out of line. ... Most departments have held the line," Beckner said.

She said anticipated spending is approximately $113 million.

The commissioners talked Thursday about funding requests from organizations such as the Franklin County Air Unit, South Central Community Action Programs, Franklin County Area Development Corp., and the county's historical society, conservation district and law library.

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Most organizations asked for the same allocation as 2009, although a few requested increases.

"I think we need to take the same approach with outside agencies. ... I think we need to hold the line," Commissioner David Keller said.

Commissioners Bob Thomas and Bob Ziobrowski echoed Keller's call for consistency. They also said they plan to turn down any new requests for 2010.

The county receives almost $1.3 million for each mill of property taxes it levies. For 2009, the county's tax rate was 22.55 mills for operations, 2.1 mills for debt service and eight-tenths of a mill for libraries.

A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 of a property's assessed value.

Beckner talked to the commissioners about county spending through the end of September. Departments had spent, on average, 68 percent of their budgeted amounts, she said.

Beckner expects to end the year with a surplus.

"Everyone is hyper aware of saving money," she said.

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