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Emmitsburg budget gets smaller,
 tax rate the same

Emmitsburg budget gets smaller, tax rate the same

The good news about the Fiscal Year 2011 budget for Emmitsburg is that the tax rate should remain the same at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value. The bad news is that the budget is getting smaller, which means that projects will be delayed.

Mayor James Hoover presented his draft budget to the Emmitsburg Town Council on May 17. The proposed budget is $1,558,731 or $62,536 less (3.4 percent less) than it currently is.

"The way we’ve been making up those dollars for the most part is deferring capital projects," Hoover told the council.

He cautioned that it was only a temporary solution because at some point the capital projects, like road repaving, were going to become too critical to put off.

The other way the town is making up a loss of revenue is by taking $83,500 from its $672,000 rainy day fund this year. Again, this is only a temporary fix because the fund will eventually run out if it isn’t replenished.

The town is seeing a drop in income in most of the major revenue streams, such as income tax, highway user fees and tax equity. For example, in 2008, Emmitsburg received around $148,000 in highway user fees from the state. Next year, it will receive $7,500.

As part of the budget, town employees will not be receiving any cost-of-living adjustments, though they are still eligible for step increases of 1 to 1.5 percent based on their longevity.

Town Manager Dave Haller also told the council that the town saved money with the replacing of three employees who resigned their positions. Two of the three new employees were hired at lower salaries than their predecessors had been earning.

To fund the budget, the town’s property tax rate will remain the same. This means is you have a home assessed for $200,000, you will pay $720 in property tax to the town. This is very close to the constant yield rate of 35.18 cents. The constant yield is a rate determined by the state as to what the town’s property tax rate should be to generate the same amount of property tax revenue from one year to the next.

The town council will take public comment on the proposed budget during its June 7 meeting. The budget will need to be approved in June so that it can take effect on July 1.

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