Proposed carbon budget increased by half a million – Times News Online

Posted on Nov 20, 2021 7:25 AM

Residents of Carbon County will likely see an increase in county property taxes in 2022.

On Thursday, the Council of Commissioners approved the preliminary budget, which calls for an increase of half a thousandth, bringing the total mileage to 12.75. A thousand county property tax is roughly $ 1.6 to $ 1.7 million.

Commissioner Rocky Ahner voted “no” on the proposed operating funds budget, which increased by $ 8.7 million from the 2021 budget to $ 57,395,244; but yes to the other two actions.

The total proposed budget is $ 86,832,846.

Other items in the budget include capital projects, $ 10,100,000; and special funds, $ 19,337,602.

This means that the owner of a home valued at $ 50,000 will pay an additional $ 25 in county property taxes next year.

Ahead of the vote, the board discussed the reasons for the $ 24.6 million budget increase from 2021. They include an additional $ 12.5 million from the US bailout and $ 5 million. emergency rental assistance program.

Ahner said the county has been working on this budget for at least a month and pointed out that the children and youth budget for 2022 has jumped to $ 9.5 million, but noted that’s not all.

“To have a tax increase, you have to have a reason,” he said. “And sometimes I look at the budget … and I’m not sure this tax increase is really sustainable.”

He pointed out that the county is taking just under $ 1 million from its balance of funds to help balance the upcoming budget.

He added that the county has never sat down and really looked at where the $ 12.5 million ARP money should go.

“We got a giveaway here for $ 12.5 million and we had better use it properly,” Ahner said, adding that he was uncomfortable with a tax increase.

Commissioner Chris Lukasevich cited a motion he brought forward after taking office in 2020 to reopen the 2020 budget and how it failed.

He agreed with Ahner that the budget should be looked at line by line, but also praised Jeff Weiss of Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, the county’s financial consultant, for his work on the budget.

Commissioners chairman Wayne Nothstein said the county needs to look at the bigger picture, including spacing issues, the growing needs of children and youth and jail.

“This is a provisional adoption of the budget,” he reminded the board of directors. “It’s subject to change.”

Nothstein also pointed out that the county must keep a fund balance because taxes don’t start coming in until around April, so the reserves are used to pay bills and pay county employees.

The board then turned it over to Weiss, who described a few expensive items and cuts.

Health insurance coverage is expected to increase by around 14 percent, which is nearly $ 1 million in the budget; and the county’s shared amount for children and youth services is expected to increase by $ 472,000.

Of the $ 10.1 million in capital project funds, Weiss said that includes the emergency training center, finishing Susquehanna and a few other projects.

Weiss noted that the budget, as written now, only includes increases for unionized employees to meet contractual agreements.

“Right now, given the structure of the budget with the increase of half a million, you are still using the starting fund balance of almost $ 900,000 to cover your budget,” he said. he declares. “So your expenses exceed your income. “

When asked why there was a $ 24.6 million jump from the 2021 budget, Weiss said the two years could not be properly compared due to the COVID pandemic since the budget includes funds from the US bailout and emergency rental assistance program, where it was not last year.

“There is no comparison between apples and apples. It’s a comparison of apples to oranges this year because of COVID, ”Weiss said. “It’s one of the biggest problems we’ve had trying to figure out the budget this year.”

The county budget is now available for inspection in the Commissioners’ Office, located on the third floor of the administration building in Jim Thorpe, until December 15. The final adoption will take place on December 16 during the council meeting at 10:30 am. a m

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