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Waynesboro Borough Council adopts budget with tax hike

December 14, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Property owners in the Borough of Waynesboro will see a 2.7-mill increase in their taxes in 2012 to support $6.3 million in upgrades to the municipality's stormwater system.

The Waynesboro Borough Council adopted next year's proposed spending plan by a 4-2 vote during a meeting Wednesday night.

Councilmen Ronnie Martin and Ben Greenawalt voted against the measure, which will go into effect when the next fiscal year begins on Jan. 1

"Now is not the time to raise taxes," Martin said before the vote. "There's other ways to do this. I've expressed it. We have a very high tax rate in the borough. We're taxing people out of their homes."

It is the first time the borough has raised taxes in "four or five years," according to Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger.

The increase, which will be felt when tax bills are mailed out in March, will amount to about $40 on the average property owner, Hamberger said.

One mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

A 1-mill increase will go to the general fund budget and an additional 2 mills will be used to infuse the borough's street project fund to pay for the needed stormwater improvements.

Taxpayers will receive a small buffer in the form of a 0.3-mill reduction in the borough's street-lighting tax, which brought the increase down to the adopted 2.7 mills.

"This was a very difficult budget," Hamberger said. "It's not perfect, but I want to commend council. They worked hard on it and we got it done."

After the vote, Councilmember Craig Newcomer noted that Martin was in favor of the stormwater projects that caused the tax increase.

Hamberger has said that the only street paving slated for 2012 will be done on streets that qualify for federal block grant money, primarily those in low-income or blighted neighborhoods.

After adopting the proposed budget last month, Hamberger said borough officials had to do some "fierce cutting" to develop the budget over the past two months, but no personnel reductions were included.

Budgeting has gotten more challenging in the past few years due to the slow-moving economy, Hamberger has said.

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