At a town hall meeting on Monday night, Mechanicsburg Borough’s manager presented a draft of the borough’s 2018 budget with a suggested tax increase of 17 percent.
Borough manager Roger Ciecierski said that next year’s figures show “the cost of doing business in the Borough of Mechanicsburg. The prices of things are going up.”
Ciecierski explained Friday that “outside forces” are affecting the budget. For example, health insurance for borough employees is going up 53 percent, according to Cieceirski.
When borough officials first drafted the $5.109 million preliminary budget, they faced a $500,000 shortfall. Ciecierski said they were able to reduce that by half due to cuts, but he hadn’t wanted to start cutting into the money for capital projects, especially with concerns over the MS4 stormwater requirements.
Ciecierski instead Monday suggested increasing the borough’s millage rage by 0.5 mills. The proposed half-mill tax increase would generate an additional $300,000 in revenue, which would cover that deficit in the budget.
Ciecierski noted that the budget is still in its preliminary stages, and the council has not yet had a chance to review the proposed budget. He also noted that the borough hadn’t raised taxes last year.
He added that while the millage increase itself is 17 percent, the increase in overall revenue is only 4.5 percent.
The borough’s current millage rate is 3.333 mills, meaning that a property owner assessed at $100,000 in the borough pays $333 annually in real estate taxes. With the half-mill increase proposed by borough administrators, the owner of a $100,000 property would pay an additional $50 in real estate taxes next year.
The borough council isn’t expected to finalize the draft until the end of December, Ciercierski said. The borough will also have budget hearings that will be open to the public.
Also on Monday, Downtown Mechanicsburg Partnership representatives said they “soon” will present a final draft of the borough’s downtown revitalization plan. In April 2016, attorney David Galloway, then-president of the Downtown Mechanicsburg Partnership, told borough officials the organization was in the process of developing a model draft of a new streetscape for the downtown’s core area.
Jayne Drake, project manager of the revitalization effort, said on Monday that since then, the organization has garnered public opinion about the plan from a large sector of the borough’s population, including local government, business owners and members of the public attending community events.
“Every single person we’ve talked to has been very enthusiastic about the plan,” Drake said. “The reactions have been, ‘This is incredible’ or ‘This has been a long time coming.’ Every single person we’ve talked to has been very enthusiastic.”
*This story was corrected Nov. 10, 2017 to reflect the accurate budget number and to add more information.