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Budget crunch Lansford plan requires a tax hike next year

Published December 18. 2010 09:00AM

A steadily eroding tax base is eating away at the edges of Lansford's financial foundation, contributing to a proposed 3.06 mill property tax increase to support next year's budget.

After months of meetings that stretched long into the night, borough council late Friday approved a tentative 2011 budget that would bring the total millage from 29.41 to 32.47.

The budget anticipates revenues of $1,575,873.01 and expenses of $1,578,161.42, leaving a $2,288.41 shortfall, even with the tax increase.

Council expects to adopt a final spending plan when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30 at the community center on Ridge Street.

The tax increase means that the owner of a home assessed for taxes at $25,000 would pay $811.75 next year, up $76.50 from this year.

The spending plan must do more with less.

Next year, the borough anticipates each mill to generate $33,376 in revenue. That's $681 less than this year, when a mill brought in $34,057.

In addition to less money coming in from the property tax, the borough will begin next year to make payments on a 20-year, $306,100 loan it took to buy street lights from PPL through a contract with Municipal Energy Management of Lackawanna County. The promised energy savings have to be realized.

Further, the borough also must begin repaying money it borrowed to finance a $2.9 million sewer separation project.

The proposed 2011 levy breaks down to: General Fund: 26.28 mills; Debt Service: 1 mill; Street Lights: 2.78 mills; Fire Protection: 1.17 mills; Recreation: 0.61 mill; Pension: 0.50 mill and Library: 0.13 mill.

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