Hearing on Chambersburg budget tonight

CHAMBERSBURG – Borough of Chambersburg Town Council will host the second of two public hearings tonight at 7 p.m. on the proposed 2021 budget, which does not include a tax increase.

In 2021, the borough will have an All Funds Budget of $110,720,580—a 2.8% decrease over the 2020 budget, attributed to decreased expenses in the Enterprise Capital Reserve Funds.

The borough’s operating budget is proposed at $88,720,692, an 11.5% decrease over the current year, with the bulk of the decrease attributed to decreased expenses in the Enterprise Capital Reserve Funds.

The general fund budget is proposed at $16,376,676, a 1.8% increase, largely due to police and fire staffing.

In the proposed 2021 budget, in addition to no tax increase, there is a proposed increase in the ready-to-serve Ambulance Fee from $7 per month to $7.50 per month for water service customers.

“This budget reflects two competing realities recognized by Town Council. First, the COVID-19 health crisis has thrown asunder the regular plans, processes, and financial assuredness of our community,” said Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill. “While we wait for things to settle back down, Town Council must continue to invest in infrastructure and emergency services. In order to make this continued financial commitment, the proposed budget recommends a significant reduction in cash reserves. However, cash reserves exist just for such a necessity; second, the proposed budget recommends reasonable use of reserves; and, finally, reserves can easily be replenished if 2021 or 2022 function as years that are more typical.”

Under the Borough Code, each borough in Pennsylvania must adopt a balanced budget by Dec. 31 of each calendar year.

According to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, in 2018—the last year with records—Chambersburg had the largest budget among Pennsylvania’s 958 boroughs.

The public hearing on the plan will be held Monday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m., at Chambersburg City Hall. The complete budget is on the borough’s website at www.chambersburgpa.gov, click on Transparency.