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Chambersburg Borough budget does not raise property taxes

December 14, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- The Chambersburg Borough Council on Monday adopted a 2010 budget that does not increase property taxes, but anticipates an increase for electric and sewer rates.

Residential electric rates will increase approximately 8.5 percent in 2010 because of higher wholesale costs for the borough to supply power, according to a memo attached to the budget. Sewer rates will increase by July 2010, although the amount will not be determined until capital costs are better defined, the memo stated.

The real estate tax rate will stay at 20 mills. Real estate taxes provide 40 percent of the operating income in the general fund.

"There's been no tax increase for the past three years and that's commendable for this council," Borough Manager Eric W. Oyer said.

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For the general fund, revenues are anticipated to increase 3.8 percent to $11.2 million. Expenditures are expected to total $12 million.

Cash reserves will be used to bridge the deficit.

The police department represents 36.2 percent of appropriations in the general fund, with a 1.1 percent increase over 2009. The police budget is $4.3 million.

For 2010, the average cost of a police officer will be $95,995, mostly due to payroll and pensions, according to an analysis in the budget. The analysis stated that bulletproof vests must be replaced and the cost of ammunition is increasing.

No additional officers will be hired and no cruisers will be purchased.

The second-largest category for general fund expenditures is the fire, ambulance and fire code departments. Totaling $3 million in spending, the departments' budget decreased 5.3 percent compared to 2009.

The average cost of a career firefighter is $85,760 per year, according to the memo.

The next largest appropriation concerns the highway, traffic and street lighting departments, which have a combined budget of $1.8 million. Overlays for streets and alleys contributed to an anticipated spending increase of 35.2 percent for those departments.

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