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Despite increase, town budget shows reductions in major categories

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(6/5) While the bottom line number for Emmitsburg’s proposed fiscal year 2009 operating budget is increasing by 16.2 percent, when an extra $200,000 payment made from the town’s rainy day fund and used to pay down the pension debt is removed, the budget will increase only 4.2 percent.

The roughly $109,000 adjusted increase is more than consumed by increases in debt service and capital projects.

Many other large categories in the budget (legislative-down 26.6 percent, planning and zoning-down 24.5 percent, financial-down 11.7 percent and building-down 15.5) are facing double digits cuts.

“We knew it was a hard year, too and we tried to adjust for that,” Town Manager Dave Haller told the commissioners during their May 19 meeting.

Other areas of the budget are seeing increases but on a small scale. Recreation and culture is increasing 2.9 percent. Streets is increasing 0.4 percent. Police protection is increasing 2.3 percent.

However, refuse collection and removal is the first area where the town is seeing significant cost increases. The cost is up 13.7 percent to $218,900. Haller said much of the increase is due to the increases in tipping fees or the cost to dump the trash in a landfill.

“As bad as fuel costs are, I think the cost of landfilling will outpace it in coming years,” Haller said.

The next big jump is the 76.1-increase in the transfer from the town operating budget to town capital budget. However, despite putting more money into the fund, the total is actually 10.4-percent less than this year. This is because some projects that had been carrying balances forward were completed this year and won’t be in the new budget.

The largest category increase is in the debt service area, which will see a 373.3 percent increase. This is because the town is paying a lump sum of $200,000 to the state pension program as it vests its employees in the state pension program.

The commissioners hope to approve the budget during their June 5 town meeting.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government