A town long known for persevering continues to be in a fight. In the 1860's, it was a physical attack during the Civil War. Now, Chambersburg is joining the ranks in a fiscal war many Pennsylvania towns are fighting.
Council president William McLaughlin said a lot of boroughs are trying to keep up with greater demands with fewer resources.
“Municipalities fight harder and harder for a piece of a smaller and smaller pie because there are mandated programs we have to provide, but then there are cuts to the funding we need to run them,” he said.
However, McLaughlin said that Borough Council has a responsibility to maintain the fiscal integrity of the borough until the economy improves. That can mean decisions that are not easy in order to keep the borough operating within it's means.
Although it appears that business is booming in Chambersburg with major restaurant chains recently opening, McLaughlin said property taxes from that development are split with the school district and the county and only amount to an additional $800,000 to $900,0000 per year. Therefore, other means are necessary to keep the judge balanced.
Council on Monday approved a one-year wage freeze for the borough's highway, streets, and utility crew workers.
“I think the employees realize that the citizens of Chambersburg have not been seeing their personal paychecks going up over the past few years,” McLaughlin said.
Clerical, technical, and management employees who are not represented by a union received a one year, 3.5 percent increase in wages, offset by increased healthcare and pension contributions.