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Average Waynesboro homeowner to face $40 tax hike

Council wants to pay down debt associated with $6.3 million worth of stormwater system upgrades

November 17, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Property owners in the Borough of Waynesboro are facing a tax increase to pay for $6.3 million worth of upgrades to the municipality's stormwater system.

The Waynesboro Borough Council passed its preliminary budget this week and plans to adopt its final 2012 budget Dec. 14. Total expenditures in the general fund are expected to be about $4.6 million.

Although budget documents show revenues exceeding expenditures in the general fund by $200,000, the numbers are skewed by the ongoing work to the aging and undersized stormwater system.

Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the council wants to pay down debt associated with the project.

Taxpayers should anticipate a 3-mill increase, resulting in a $40 increase for the average homeowner. A mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The increase could be tempered slightly by a tax reduction for the streetlight fund. Hamberger said the council is looking to reduce the taxes allocated to streetlight installation and maintenance by three-tenths of a mill.

The only street paving for 2012 will be done on streets that qualify for federal Community Development Block Grant money, primarily those in low-income or blighted neighborhoods.

Hamberger described "fierce cutting" over the past few weeks as the council developed its budget. Requests for an officer and vehicles in the police department have not been filled.

"At this time, there is no reduction in personnel," Hamberger said.

Borough manager since 1980, Hamberger said budgeting now is more strenuous than in the past because of continued uncertainty about the economy. He said he doesn't recall other economic downturns having the persistent stagnation of housing starts and sales.

"The economy is in a state of flux. ... I've lost more sleep on this budget than I have in others," he said.

Hamberger said copies of the preliminary budget will be available at borough hall and the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library. He said he hopes to post a copy on the borough's website at www.waynesboropa.org.

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