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Armstrong County holds line on taxes

KITTANNING — Armstrong County commissioners presented a preliminary budget for the 2011 fiscal year on Thursday that has no increase in the county’s property tax rate from last year. Officials boasted that if the fiscal plan is adopted, it would be the fifth straight year with no tax increase for property owners.

The county’s financial manager, Don Pepler, said the $18.4 million budget includes a spending increase of about $496,000 over this year’s budget due to increases in salary, retirement and health care costs. The amount is offset mainly by revenues from increases in assessed property values and Tax Claim Bureau collections, he said. Increased jail revenues and domestic relation order reimbursements contributed as well, according to a budget summary provided by Pepler.

Pepler said assessed property value went up by about $4 million to $939 million adding $44,000 in new revenue.

In addition, the county is projecting about $260,000 more from delinquent tax collections, he said.

“The Tax Claim office has done an excellent job,” Pepler said.

The plan includes no major cuts in services.

“We’ve achieved efficiency across the board,” Pepler said of department spending practices.

The balanced budget keeps the real estate tax at 15.5 mills. Of that, 12.5 mills of revenue goes into the general fund and 3 mills is for debt services.

A mill of taxes would generate about $939,000 in revenue for the county. For a property owner with an $80,000 home, with an assessed value of $40,000, the tax bill would be slightly more than $600.

County employees are to receive a 3 percent increase in salary, according to the budget.

The commissioners announced that the preliminary budget is available for public review and is expected to be up for final approval at the commissioners’ meeting at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the courthouse annex building.


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