Sunday, October 17, 2010

Borough Council wants your thoughts in this tough budget year

As Borough Council begins the budgeting season for 2011, we are facing an extreme situation the likes that many of us have never seen. In fact, my fellow Councilman Meade Bierly said earlier this month that he had never seen in his 40 years on Borough Council a budget as tough as last the one we approved for 2010.

It looks as though this year we might face an even tougher year.

Revenue predictions for next year from the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau are way down -- and this year the bureau advised municipalities countywide not to expect much from the collection of the earned income tax.

Last year, Elizabethtown's borough staff did a great job working on a bare-bones budget that Borough Council asked them to cut even further. In the end, we approved the budget without a tax increase.

We have just started to develop the 2011 budget, and we would like residents' input on priorities for services Elizabethtown provides -- especially in these challenging economic times.

As we've said on the borough's website, "costs (fuel, insurance, labor, electricity to name a few) continue to rise as revenues fall. Under these circumstances, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the same level of service to the community at the current tax rate."

We would like your thoughts on the following questions: 
  • Do you wish services that are provided for the community such as law enforcement, fire, street paving, parks, and code enforcement to be maintained at current levels in 2011?
  • If you wish all services to remain at current levels of service, do you feel that Borough Council should increase taxes to cover the costs of these services?
  • If not, which of the many services provided to the community should be reduced in scope?
  • What services do you feel are essential and should not be reduced or cut under any circumstance?
  • Should fees for services such as pavilion rentals, trash tag sales, code enforcement and dog recovery be increased beyond their associated costs to provide additional revenue?
I know that all of us on Borough Council are appreciative of any feedback we get from the public on these issues during the budgeting season. If you like, you can post your comments here at Chronicling Elizabethtown, and I will pass them on the the rest of Borough Council and the staff to ensure that your voice is heard. Or, you can send an e-mail with your comments directly to the borough at To ensure that we can consider comments in time for the budget, please send all responses, whether it's here at the blog or directly to the borough, by Nov. 24.


  1. I suggest the borough cut back on street paving. If it were my house budget and money was tight, paving would likely be the first borough service to be eliminated. My street is on the list for 2011 and, while not in prime condition, is still in satisfactory condition after more than 21 years and could easily wait for better times.

  2. I expect tax increases and am sorry the Borough has not increased them in small increments each year. No tax increase one year makes the inevitable tax increase in a following year much more difficult to handle for someone like me. I can more easily deal with a small increase this year and next year rather than a single large one sometime in the future. I also firmly believe that taxes, federal, state and local, are the dues for being an American. You have heard people screaming "Freedom is not free!" but many of them are not willing to pay dollars for it. Shame on them! Freedom costs money, not just lives.


Because of ongoing spam passed off as comments, I have instituted a policy of moderating all comments. I will receive an e-mail when you comment and will review to ensure they are appropriate. For the record, this is not an effort to censor anyone except spammers hawking offensive websites and inappropriate and unrelated content. I pledge to post all comments, regardless of whether they are critical of me and my writing or not.