Chambersburg budget plan calls for decreased electric rates, increased trash rates

November 12, 2012

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Chambersburg Borough Council is hammering out a 2013 budget plan that anticipates $72 million in operating funds.

The council is scheduled to adopt its budget and tax rate at a Dec. 10 meeting.

In early drafts, the electric department represents about $31.4 million in the overall budget. Other large expenditures include the gas and sewer departments.

A 4.4 percent increase in total expenditures is almost completely attributed to construction projects, including renovations at the sewer treatment plant, Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill wrote in preliminary budget documents.

Gas, water and sewer customers are not expected to have a rate increase in 2013, and electric customers can anticipate a rate reduction, the preliminary budget shows.

The average residential customer will see his or her electric bill drop from $114.73 a month to $104.23 a month, according to budget documents.

Residential trash rates are projected to increase from $11.50 to $14 a month, budget drafts show.

Revenue for the general fund — which includes police, emergency services, highway, general borough services, recreation and planning — has been down since 2007, Stonehill said.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER,  grant will be used to pay for some firefighter positions next year.

“The time has come to evaluate the size and cost of the Chambersburg Emergency Services Department against the community need for public safety. ... The Chambersburg Fire Department is the best trained, most well-equipped and most reliable public safety force in Franklin County. Yet, it is too expensive for the borough to operate,” Stonehill wrote in budget documents.

He included consideration about a “more global solution” about regional firefighting.

Last week, Stonehill presented the council with three options for possible tax increases to support the police department. Council members were asked to think about how they want to proceed with that.

— Jennifer Fitch

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