Budget approved, county taxes up by a half mill

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

The Franklin County Commissioners last week approved the county's 2010 budget.  Despite significant increases in county obligations for emergency services, healthcare insurance premiums, post-retirement healthcare fund, and the county pension fund, overall spending has declined for the second consecutive year.

The operating fund millage rate will remain at 22.55 mills.  The bond debt service millage will increase from 2.1 mills to 2.6 mills, fully funding the county's yearly obligation for existing bonds and ensuring the county's excellent “AA” credit rating. The library tax for the participating municipalities remains unchanged at 0.80 mills.  The increase in tax obligation equates to $8.70 per year for the owner of a property with a fair market value of $150,000.  Franklin County taxes are over a third lower than average for PA counties, and Franklin County's tax rate remains in the lowest third of all PA counties.

“The budget cuts enacted in April '09 laid the groundwork for a balanced budget in 2010,” said Commissioner David Keller.  “This budget reflects sound fiscal policy and our commitment to productivity and efficiency through technology,” Keller added.

The budget includes funding for updating the county's comprehensive plan, open space preservation, information technology and economic development.  “Franklin County will continue to grow,” said Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski. “It is important to continue adequate funding for programs that insure proper planning, job retention and creation.”

“This is a balanced budget that we could not have achieved without the support and leadership from a great county management team.” said commission Chairman Bob Thomas. “We also appreciate the courts and other elected officials for their cooperation and collaboration in our efforts to reduce costs.”

The 2010 Franklin County budget can be viewed on the county's web site