News

Gettysburg council brainstorms budget cuts

Written by Lillian Reed/Hanover Evening Sun | Jan 15, 2016 6:03 PM
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Gettysburg Borough Council is discussing possible changes to the 2016 budget at a workshop meeting Jan. 14.(Photo: File Photo, The Evening Sun)

(Gettysburg) -- Gettysburg Borough Council agreed it was teetering on a fiscal highwire as members attempted to balance this year's budget by trimming more than five line items.

The borough faces a structural deficit, which occurs when a borough's revenues are less than what it spends. The former council sought to balance the 2016 budget by using money from reserve funds, a move that could risk dipping too low into emergency funds, finance director Nicolette James said last week.

When the new council took office in January, members expressed a desire to reopen the budget, which included a tax increase of .15 mills to a total of 3.7703 mills for residents. This means a Gettysburg Borough resident owning a home valued at $100,000 will pay about $377 in property taxes in 2016.

Council held a public workshop Thursday where members discussed possible cuts totaling more than $152,000. The largest item on the chopping block was planned repairs for East Broadway that, if delayed, will save about $140,000 in 2016.

Council also took a straw poll to gauge interest in reducing the municipal donations to local nonprofits like Main Street Gettysburg, Gettysburg's Elm Street Project and the Adams County SPCA back to the 2015 amounts. Council member Susan Naugle, who represents the borough on Main Street's board, was the only member to indicate that she was not in favor of reducing donations. Member Graham Weaver was not in attendance to the meeting to participate in the vote.

Council also expressed interest in doing away with the borough newsletter and the $500 donation given to the Adams Rescue Mission for electronic recycling.

Cutting some of these services was not meant to indicate that they were without value to the community, Borough Council president Robert Krummerich said at the end of the meeting.

"No one is standing here saying it's not worthwhile but the fact of the matter is we are broke," he said.

Council will need to make a formal vote to modify each of the line items in the 2016 budget at its next meeting but Krummerich said there was no indication that they would actually have to reopen the budget. The millage rate will most likely remain where it was set by the 2015 council, he said.

Following the workshop, Krummerich said he did not anticipate any cuts would be made to personnel in the executive session held later that evening. Council member Jake Schindel interjected that there was no way to know what would happen.

Borough manager Charles Gable later confirmed following the executive session that council did not vote to lay off any personnel.

This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and the Hanover Evening Sun.

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