When: Elizabethtown Borough Council meeting, Dec. 2.
What happened: Borough Council unanimously approved the 2022 budget totaling $7.08 million in planned spending. Mayor Chuck Mummert and all council members except Phillip Clark were present. Council voted unanimously to raise real estate taxes, as well as sewer fees, for all residents of Elizabethtown. Real estate taxes will go up by .5 mills, from 4.6 to 5.1 for 2022. On a home valued at $150,000, this would mean an annual tax increase of $75, council noted. Real estate taxes make up about one-third of the borough’s total revenue.
Key points: The budget predicts that about $500,000 more will be spent than acquired by the borough next year. This will be offset by larger-than-anticipated revenue from 2021 carried over into the general fund. As a result, the borough expects to have a higher ending balance at the end of 2022 than this year, despite the spending deficit. Notable spending increases planned for next year include highway maintenance, building renovations, stormwater remediation and major parks projects.
Community support: The new budget also includes a doubling the borough’s annual contribution to the Elizabethtown Fire Department to $232,000; a doubling of business development support to $43,000; and a 30% increase in contributions to the Elizabethtown Public Library, from $61,000 to $91,000.
Federal aid: Included in the budget is $598,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. The money must be used for infrastructure improvements, lost revenue, premium pay for essential workers and public health expenditures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The borough has a limited time to allocate the money. An additional $160,000 in federal coronavirus funding will be used to offset recent decreases in sewer fund revenue.
Sewer rates are up: Sewer fees for residents will go from $92 to $105 per quarter. This will help to close what had become a growing deficit in the sewer operating fund over the last several years.
Promotion: Council unanimously approved a recommendation by police Chief Ed Cunningham for the promotion of Matthew T. Shuey from the rank of detective to the rank of corporal, effective Dec. 13. Shuey has been employed by the Elizabethtown Police Department for just over 20 years.
What’s next: Council meets for the final time in 2021 on Dec. 16.