Carbon budgets for tax increase
Carbon County residents should expect to see an increase in their county real estate taxes in 2020.
On Thursday, the county commissioners approved the tentative $64,962,087 spending plan, which calls for increasing the millage rate by 2 mills to 12.25.
That means that the owner of a home assessed at $50,000 will pay $612.50 in county real estate taxes next year. That is an increase of $100 from this year.
Commissioner William O’Gurek pointed out that this is only the second tax increase in 17 years, the last one being in 2013.
The 2020 spending plan has three components: The operating fund, $47,305,561, up $3.7 million from this year’s budget; capital projects, $14,566,483, down $1.8 million; and special funds, $3,090,043, up $299,000.
Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that the tax hike is needed to meet the growing costs the county faces.
Big-ticket items include approximately $15 million in employee salaries, a 7.6 percent increase in insurance premiums, 77 new Dell computers that must be purchased since the current Windows operating systems will no longer be supported, an increase in pension fund requirements and $1.5 million in various projects that are planned.
In addition, the county is not expected to see any growth in its real estate taxes that it collects. Inflation in rising costs associated with mandated programs outpaces what the county brings in through taxes.
“It’s not pretty,” Nothstein said. “We have a lot of challenges ahead.”
The proposed budget is now available for review at the county administration building, formerly the courthouse annex, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Dec. 11.
The commissioners will formally adopt the 2020 budget at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 12 during their weekly meeting.