Carbon County residents can expect to pay the same on their county taxes in 2011.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve the 2011 budget with no tax increase. As it stands, the tax rate for the county will remain 6.893 mills.

That means that a person who owns a home with an assessed value of $50,000 will be required to pay $344.65 in county real estate taxes in 2011.

The budget, which is broken down into operating funds, $46,447,138; capital projects, $2,450,000; and special funds, $2,087,146; totals $50,984,284. It is up $76,115 from the proposed budget that was released on Nov. 19.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that the increase is due to additional expenses at the prison for a new security system; an increase in the lease price of the office space for District Judge Bruce Appleton's office and the Area Agency on Aging in Palmerton; and unanticipated increases associated with the employee dental insurance.

O'Gurek noted that the county learned that it will receive over $25,000 in additional revenue in the form of grants. This will help bring the total increase in the budget to just over $50,000, a cost that the county will absorb.

This is the ninth year with no tax hike in Carbon County.

O'Gurek has repeatedly said that county officials and department heads have worked hard over the last nine years to make sure there would not be a tax increase for residents.

In other matters, the county entered into a settlement agreement with Teamster Local 773, on behalf of Diane Vrablic. Commissioner Charles Getz cast the sole "no" vote.

In the agreement, the county agrees to pay Vrablic $2,807.91 and not resort to an arbitration hearing or further proceedings relating to the discharge of Vrablic as a correction officer in July 2010.

The commissioners said this is a personnel matter and could not go into full detail on the issue.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein added that he agreed with Getz's feelings against the settlement, but stated that it would have cost the county more to go to arbitration than to reach the settlement.