January 26 – With a new group of county commissioners taking over in Cumberland County, they have reopened the 2024 budget.
The Pennsylvania County Code allows this to happen in the first few weeks of a new administration.
The new commissioners voted yesterday for a 15% tax increase as part of the county budget.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “They are citing the fact that they’ve not had a tax increase for 10 years and year after year, they’re balancing their budget with deficit spending. Yes, this sounds familiar. It’s a cautionary tale. But they’re saying they just can’t keep doing this and if they don’t do a massive tax increase, they’re looking at even more pain in the years to come. So there are some real problems there in Cumberland County.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “What about the incompetence then? You’ve got to look at all those warehouses and all that growth, and they’ve got to Dickinson College up there, all the money up there.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “It just kills me, then the school district and how about all these municipalities in Cumberland County, won’t they be looking at this county and saying, that’s nice. You’re going to raise everybody’s taxes 15% and meanwhile, we were telling you we can’t keep going, because you’re limiting how much we can get from taxes because you won’t do a reassessment.”
Barkdoll said, “That’s part of this discussion. Absolutely. Cumberland County is the fastest growing or one of the fastest growing counties in the state of Pennsylvania. This is what goes into the idea of municipal management. Would it be better to increase your taxes or utility rates by one or 2% a year? They’ve gone now over 10 years with no tax increase and they used a lot of that COVID and stimulus money to keep balancing their budget. It’s deficit spending and this new administration comes in and they’re taking a deep dive into the books saying, no way can we keep doing this. We’ve got a crisis brewing and the only way to avoid it is this massive tax increase. So it is a problem there in Cumberland County.”