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Hamiltonban doesn’t buy into ‘recession’

Richard D. L. Fulton

(1/8) The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors noted upon adoption of their 2013 budget on December 27 that the economy of the last four years was too prolonged to be considered a recession.

The statement was issued as part of the board’s 2013 budget message released as part of the approved budget package.

In their budget message. The board stated, "Every few years, the U.S. economy goes through cyclical slow-downs. Most are not very deep and last for an average of six to eighteen months."

"These are normally called recessions, but when they are unusually long and/or deep, they are called depressions," the statement read, adding, "What the economy entered into four years ago was a depression, the longest and deepest depression since the historical depression of the 1930s."

"We are well aware of how this depression has negatively affected our residents' finances and it has affected the township's finances…," the supervisors stated.

The supervisors voted to approve the draft 2013 budget package at a December 29 weekend workshop meeting.

The general fund budget was approved in the amount of $749,644, while the state Liquid Fuels fund budget was approved in the amount of $106,346. The sewer fund budget was approved in the amount of $604,010.

The budget was reduced from the original proposed amount of $1,132,586 due to the partial receipt of Redevelopment Assistance Capitol Program (RACP) Grant reimbursement money in the amount $356,345, according to township Secretary/Treasurer Deborah Feiler. The budget was not cut from the $1 million-plus version in order to produce the $749,644 budget, but was revised down due to the receipt of the RACP money. The receipt of that money allowed the board to remove $356,345 in anticipated expenditures relating to the new municipal facilities from the initially proposed 2013 budget.

For the seventh consecutive year, there will be no proposed tax increase attending the township budget.

One of the means selected by the board to avert a tax increase was the elimination of the township Police Department, placing law enforcement solely in the hands of the State Police.

To "maintain a local police department in 2013, we would have to increase the Township tax millage imposed on our residents by about 32 percent, from 1.2359 to 1.64 mills, the board noted.

"Unfortunately, that tax increase would only temporarily ‘plug the hole’ in the 2013 budget without generating enough income to put the township in a favorable economic position for the expected increase in police department costs in 2014 and future years," the supervisors stated.

Other cost-saving measures were adopted in the form of a flexible road maintenance schedule for 2013, which allows the board to implement improvements based on the costs and available funds at any given time.

The elimination of the police department represented the only significant cut made in producing the balanced budget for 2013.

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