2012-11-14 / Front Page

County Proposes 1.2 Mill Real Estate Tax Increase

Final budget adoption slated for December 18
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz


After weeks and weeks of ongoing discussions with department heads and their business manager, the Fulton County commissioners agreed Tuesday to establish a tentative budget for the calendar year 2013 that will include a budget surplus of $8,082. In order to achieve that slight excess, however, the commissioners are also proposing a millage increase in county real estate taxes.

As part of their talks Tuesday with business manager Tim Stanton, the commissioners learned in order to achieve a balanced budget for next year a 1.2 mill increase would be required. That figure is within the range of forecasts or predictions made by Stanton in prior planning sessions and would bring the overall real estate tax rate to 12.15 mills.

According to Stanton, one mill can generate $355,901 in revenue.

The increase is part of the county’s overall revenue that is tentatively set at $6,556,740 for 2013. Meanwhile, expenditures recorded at $6,548,658.

It was noted debt financing is 5.7 percent of the county’s expenses.

Stanton pointed out while some residents within the community may question the amount of money being spent by the commissioners on facility upgrades and deferred maintenance, the percentage of financing is still within the benchmarks for revenue and expenses.

An additional breakdown of information pertaining to the budget, a narrative by the business manager as well as charts and graphs are expected to be released to the public on November 27. Final adoption of the budget has tentatively been set for December 18.

In coming to these figures, the commissioners and Stanton reviewed an array of topics on November 13, such as last week’s decision to change allocations to Fulton County Library and Fulton County Medical Center; an increased allocation to the county’s retirement fund in 2013; salaries and staffing; and categories like the Fulton County Law Library that receives a portion of its income from fines and fees.

Stanton referred to the budget as on the lean side when looking at expenses. He in turn applauded department heads for their frugality in their own budget preparations and staying within budget guidelines throughout the course of the year.

Last Tuesday, the commissioners penned a contract with Forensic Pathology Associates for the 2013 calendar year to perform basic autopsies at a rate of $1,305 per autopsy.

A request from Dublin Township was approved for liquid fuel funding in the amount of $1,400.

The commissioners conducted a bid opening for the Mc- Connellsburg Borough curb cut-outs project, which will be funded through a Community Development Block Grant. On hand for the opening were Jerre Parson of Dennis E. Black Engineering, Maynard Bard of TMS Excavating, special projects coordinator Karen Hann and business manager Tim Stanton.

Bids opened include those from TMS Excavating Inc., Southern Contractors and P&W Excavating. The bids were tabled for further review.

A follow-up bid opening was held regarding replacement of columns at the Fulton County Courthouse. One bid was received from R.A. Hill Inc. of Chambersburg, in the amount of $78,000. In turn, the commissioners signed a Notice of Intent to award the project to R.A. Hill, Inc.

On October 30, commissioners Irvin Dasher and Rodney McCray accepted a change order that includes a $400 deduction with East Coast Contracting. In a follow up motion, the commissioners granted the company a five-day time extension to finish work associated with the old jail. The extension is slated to expire at the end of the working day on November 12. Commissioner Craig Cutchall was unable to attend the October 30 meeting.

The commissioners signed an agreement with the Fulton County Library for rental of the community room at an hourly rate of $25 for the purpose of holding a retirement luncheon.

An agreement was also penned with Ronald S. Kearns to extend the county’s use of the building at 216 North Second Street for housing the sheriff’s office through December 31, 2012, at the current terms.

Invoices were approved with Dennis L. Black Engineering, $1,338.80 for plans and specifications for the courthouse roof replacement and $1,635 for plans and specifications for the column replacement project.

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