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No tax hike for Carroll Valley

Richard D. L. Fulton

(11/14) The Carroll Valley Borough Council approved the proposed 2013 budget for advertising at their November 13 meeting, which, if adopted, would avoid a tax increase for the coming year.

The 2013 general fund budget is proposed in the amount of $1,797,468, while the tax rate would remain at 24.5 cents on each $100 of assessed real estate value.

Although the proposed budget is some $43,000 higher than the 2012 budget, which had triggered a tax increase going into 2012, the tax rate will remain unchanged for 2013.

Borough Manager David Hazlett stated that, although the proposed budget is higher than the 2012 budget, no tax hike was needed because, "We were able to project some higher revenues than last year. We are seeing the income tax stabilize and we’re not projecting it (income revenue to go down as much."

In addition, he said, "We’re projecting a pretty large boost in hotel revenues." The county recently raised the county-wide "pillow tax," which, for Carroll Valley, take that revenue from a previous annual amount of $5,000 to $20,000 for 2013.

Other budgets proposed in the budget package include the highway aid fund budget in the amount of $173,101 (state liquid fuels), the sanitary sewer budget in the amount of $392,663 (mostly through user fees), and the capitol improvement project reserve budget of $214,343 (savings each year dedicated to capitol improvements).

The highway aid fund budget is financed by state liquid fuels money, while the sanitary sewer budget is financed "mostly through user fees," Hazlett stated.

The capitol improvement project reserve budget is comprised of savings each year which are then dedicated to capitol improvements, such as equipment replacement.

The borough’s current 2012 budget was approved in the amount of $1,753,807 in December 2011, and taxes were raised to 24.5 cents on each $100 of assessed real estate value as a result.

The tax increase was blamed largely on decreased income and real estate revenue within the borough. The borough tax rate has only been increased twice (2008 and 2012) over the past dozen years or so.

Councilmen Dan Patton and Bill Reinke voted against the 2012 budget and the tax increase, Patton stated at the December 2012 meeting that more expense cuts in the budget should have been implemented. "There are still areas I feel were nonessential," and could have been trimmed or deleted from the budget, he said.

Carroll Valley Borough residents have an average per capita income $33,940 (2009 numbers), with the average resident age of 35.4, according to city-data.com. The pre-2012 tax rate of eight mills was set in 2008, effective for the 2009 budget, this at a time when the total real estate value in the borough approximated $89,699,051.

Once advertised, the proposed 2013 budget will be considered for adoption this month (December).

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