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So far, no tax increases expected in Shippensburg borough’s 2013 budget

21 November 2012 No Comment

By AMBER SOUTH
@ShipNewsGirl

SHIPPENSBURG — No tax increases are expected in 2013 for Shippensburg borough residents, but there may be rate increases for commercial trash collection and commercial recycling.

Shippensburg Borough Council continued discussion of proposed 2013 budgets at a meeting Tuesday night. Because budgets are in the proposal stage and are not yet public record, numbers could change.

At this point, Borough Manager Earl Parshall expects to move just more than $230,000 from the fund balance, which acts as a savings account for the borough, to balance the general fund budget.

“On the surface it’s a deficit,” Parshall said Wednesday. “We’re making up that deficit by taking money out of our savings.”

Removing money from a fund balance happens frequently in local government, but an entity should only do so sparingly to ensure it is not depleted, Parshall said.

“As long as we’re maintaining a healthy reserve, this is OK with me if we’re not raising taxes,” Councilman Joe Hockersmith said Tuesday.

Mayor Bruce Hockersmith commended the borough for having money to help itself.

“What we’re seeing is prudent financial management when a lot of other boroughs are seeing financial stress,” he said.

Rate increases to commercial trash and recycling may take a place in the sanitation budget. Parshall said Tuesday that those rates have not gone up since 1994.

Talk of geese also made the budget discussion after Councilwoman Kerri Burrows questioned an item included in the sanitation budget.

Money was allotted to maintain services provided by Geese Be Gone, a company that prevents geese overpopulation by shaking unhatched eggs to prevent birds from being born and staking a claim on their birthplace for the rest of their lives.

According to Parshall, when the borough first hired the company there were around 500 geese – many of which were domesticated — living in the main problem area of Dykeman’s Pond. Numbers have gone down significantly since then, and the area has become more pleasurable for visitors.

A final budget will be hammered out over the next two weeks and council will vote Dec. 4 to advertise it. The budget would then be advertised for 10 days, and council could vote to approve it Dec. 18. The budget must be completed by the end of December.

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Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com and 262-4771.

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