Taxes to remain same in Greencastle, Antrim Township

PAT FRIDGEN

Elected officials are finalizing budgets for the new year, with one municipality finished and one close to it. Neither municipality is planning to change taxes in 2010.

Greencastle Borough Council adopted its 2010 budget Monday night, and Antrim Township will do the same at 11 a.m. Dec. 29. Greencastle did not raise property taxes from the 2009 rate of 11 mills. Antrim plans to stay at zero mills.

The borough's $1.53 million general fund budget will be balanced by drawing on $384,000 from reserves. Thirty-seven percent of expenses are directed to the police department, 18 percent to street construction and 10 percent to streets in general. Employee expenses are at seven percent and benefits two percent.

On the sewer side the borough expects to collect $1.5 million, mostly from metered sales. After expenses, it will balance with a $36,570 transfer from reserves.

The police department has seen a dramatic jump from 2007, with expenses that year of $283,000. Next year the borough expects to spend $563,908, including $68,000 for compatible radios for Franklin County's new digital 911 system, computers and software, and a new vehicle. Some grant money may be received toward the radios.

The street department has a capital expense of $39,000 for radios also and a vehicle capable of plowing.

The borough will spend $260,000 for preliminary and final designs for the Route 16/US 11 intersection, and curb sidewalk construction. It has received $100,000 toward the intersection and expects the same amount in 2011.

A new budget item is $50,000 set aside for community improvements which will be based on Five-Year Strategic Plan recommendations.

Medical insurance rates increased by 7.7 percent and the budget allows a two percent raise for employees.

Sewer fund capital improvements costing $422,000 will be for a number of projects, including relining work on South Allison Street and South Ridge Avenue, installing generators at the Carlisle Street and Colonial Drive lift stations, and replacing the Contech pump station.

Council member Harry Foley complimented borough manager Kenneth Womack on his fiscal management. The budget had been discussed in detail at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 23, which was not attended by any member of the press or public. The proposed budget was then on display for public review for 10 days.

Antrim

Antrim Township expects $3.08 million in revenue and $4.01 million in expenses in the general fund. It will transfer $400,000 from capital reserves for renovations to the municipal building, $550,000 from the landfill fund for the parks, and $41,413 from the water fund for a loan repayment.

The township will transfer $15,000 out of the general fund for capital improvements, leaving the main operating fund $49,000 to the good.

However, the total fund balance for Antrim will drop from $20.4 million at the end of 2009 to a projected $19.9 million at the end of 2010, a drop of $577,153.

A boost in real estate transfer taxes is planned from commercial development, $750,000 in 2010 compared to $280,000 in 2009.

The supervisors have not set aside any money for a future police force. A fund stands at $600,000 from previous years with no designated purpose.

Road construction may actually be less than the $900,000 budgeted, administrator Brad Graham said.

A major expense in the sewer fund is $140,000 to replace a bar screen at the wastewater treatment plant. Revenues are expected to be $2.5 million and expenses $2.9 million.

The supervisors will set employee wages at the organizational meeting Jan. 4. Graham said three percent raises have been included in the budget, but will be allocated on a merit basis. Health insurance and benefits will be up 7.6 percent in the new year.