Washington Twp. preliminary budget holds the line on taxes

November 21, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors have developed a preliminary budget that holds the line on taxes for 2012, a budget year described as “very tight” by the township manager.

The supervisors passed a preliminary budget Monday. It allocates almost $4.5 million in spending from the general fund for operations.

The supervisors are not planning to raise property taxes beyond their current rate of 4.4 mills. A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 assessed property value.

The final budget is expected to be passed Dec. 19.

“Everything is tight,” Township Manager Mike Christopher said. “Capital projects are at a minimum, and staff have been requested to keep costs down.”

Township property owners haven’t had a real estate tax increase since 2004, Christopher said.

The 2012 preliminary budget includes an additional $30,000 for the police department, which is set to undergo 3 percent salary increases for its uniformed officers, who are unionized. Other township employees are scheduled to receive a 1.5 percent pay increase.

The budget also includes increased expenditures for health insurance premiums.

The supervisors plan to spend $11,000 for further preservation of a Battle of Monterey Pass site in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., and development of an interpretive center there. That mountaintop community will receive the bulk of next year’s paving work, with projects planned for Jacobs Church Road, Furnace Road and smaller roads in that area.

Paving initiatives will partly depend on whether the Pennsylvania General Assembly passes changes to the laws dictating when municipalities must pay prevailing wage, Christopher said.

Work on a sewer project along Calimer Drive will continue in the spring. The township received $100,000 in grant funding for the efforts in 2011, and another $75,000 is earmarked for 2012.

The supervisors, who passed the preliminary budget unanimously, said they felt it was important to not burden their 14,000 residents with new taxes.

“You have people out of work,” Supervisor Elaine Gladhill said.

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