For the seventh year in a row, Lancaster County Government will not be raising taxes.
The proposed 2020 budget, discussed at an evening commissioners meeting Tuesday night, proposes to keep the county’s millage rate at 2.911, the rate it was lowered to in 2018.
Millage is a tax calculation for property taxes. A home valued at $100,000 taxed at 2.911 would pay $291.10.
The 2020 budget, which the commissioners will vote on Dec. 11, is the eighth in a row that is structurally balanced, meaning expenses do not exceed revenue.
"That's no small accomplishment," Commissioner Craig Lehman said, thanking county employees for making that happen. "Having eight in a row is a really big deal, and it's a credit to all of you and your work trying to manage county resources responsibly and effectively."
Several departments lowered their budgets.
Total expenses from the county's general fund, the primary operating budget before specialized grants are factored in, is $165,315,362, which is about $2.6 million more than 2019.
Revenue for the general fund is projected to be $165,392,244.
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That leaves about $77,000 of wiggle room, which is less than 2019’s $308,000 margin.
Of the smaller gap between revenue and expenses, Maggie Weidinger, director or information technology and budget services, said she was cautious, but not concerned.
"We've adopted budgets before where expenses exceeded revenue," she said, adding however, that it could make accounting for cost increases in next year's budget more difficult.
The most significant increase this year was in voter registration, which saw its budget increase by $680,773, or 43.2%. The increase is primarily due to new voting machines the county leased this year.
A roughly $600,000 payment will be made on those machines in each of the next five years, but at least for 2020 that cost will be significantly offset by a $539,153 federal grant.