Cumberland County budget includes property tax increase

Cumberland County Commissioners on Thursday approved a $47.7 million general budget for 2013 that includes $2.8 million in cuts.

“We froze wages for county employees, posing a wage freeze on ourselves as well, and we identified other cuts in spending,” commissioner Jim Hertzler said.

The budget includes a 12 percent property tax increase. Although it is the largest tax hike Cumberland County residents have seen in several years, commissioners said residents are still paying significantly less than residents in neighboring counties.

“People in Cumberland County will pay less than a third of what they pay in Dauphin County and less than half of what they pay in York County,” Hertzler said.

“The public needs to understand that the original increase that was proposed was substantially higher,” commissioner Gary Eichelberger said. “We have been doing our due diligence here to try and knock this down.”

Homeowners with a house valued at $180,000 will pay $384 in property taxes. Commissioners say that is a $40 dollar increase.

Even with the tax hike, the county is still left with a $1.3 million gap.

“The issue of having to decide what to cut is not easy, but that is one of the things we will have to continue to look at as we move forward,” Hertzler said.

“It is going to require heavy lifting on our part,” Eichelberger said. “It is going to require recognition of what the fiscal realities are and it is going to require some changes that will not be universally popular.”

To view the Cumberland County Budget online:

http://www.ccpa.net/Search.aspx?SearchString=2013+BUDGET

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