A sacrifice by 10 people in Strasburg Borough could mean extra cash in the pockets of the entire town.
The borough's full-time employees declined their 2011 raises during a council meeting Tuesday to help balance the budget.
For residents, council President James Kiscaden said, the move could mean the difference between a no-tax-increase budget in 2011 and what might have been a one-tenth-of-a-mill rate hike. The current tax rate is 2.83 mills.
"Without that concession, more than likely," Kiscaden said, "there would have been a tax increase."
Police chief Steven Echternach said Wednesday that police were discussing the economy in June when the idea came up to extend their 2010 contract to 2011.
They met with nonuniformed employees, who also decided to forgo their raises and any benefit increases in 2011. Echternach said every one of the 10 full-time employees, who think of themselves as a team, immediately agreed.
"It is a time for sacrifices," Echternach said.
The employees announced their decision during an executive session at Tuesday's meeting. The borough's 10 full-time employees are four police officers including the chief, three administrative staffers including the borough manager and three people on the public works crew.
Council announced and accepted the offer after the executive session.
"That was certainly a welcome gesture," Councilman Dale Spaulding said Wednesday.
Kiscaden said in his nearly 30 years in local government he cannot recall any employees making the same decision, which he said the Strasburg workers came up with completely on their own.
Former councilman Lee Potts praised the workers' character.
"We really do have excellent employees," resident May Gaynor said.
The announcement brought a projected 2011 shortfall of about $48,000 down to $34,675.
The 2011 draft budget includes expenses of $1,007,798, up 3.4 percent from the 2010 projected budget of $974,627.
Income in the 2011 draft budget is $973,123, down 0.5 percent from 2010 income of $978,424.
The current draft includes no tax increase.