CHAMBERSBURG – The Franklin County Commissioners have received the 2023 proposed budget of $170 million, which is comparable to the 2022 revised budget of $168 million. The total property tax millage rate remains unchanged at 29.1 mills and consists of a general operating millage of 25.0 and debt service millage of 4.1.
This marks Franklin County’s seventh consecutive year without a general fund tax increase.
The county’s 2023 budget reflects funding to accomplish the following priorities, according to county officials:
- Streamlining government and delivery of services through the use of, and improvements to, technology;
- Upholding public safety and security;
- Maintaining services that support Franklin County residents by providing state and federally mandated local matching funds for human services programs, including programs for children, seniors, individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities, and veterans, as well as treatment for mental health and drug and alcohol abuse; and
- Ensuring continuity of operations and providing competitive pay and benefits, as well as the resources that staff need to perform their jobs.
“The 2023 budget provides for the continued delivery of essential services in support of programs and resources that serve Franklin County residents,” said Commissioner Dave Keller. “Countywide partnerships with nonprofits and municipalities are also being enhanced with grant allocations from America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in the areas of fire and EMS, education, economic development, parks and recreation, historic preservation, tourism, healthcare, water and sewer infrastructure, stormwater management and conservation. ARPA funds will also accelerate the replacement of several obsolete county bridges and preserve an additional 1,000 acres of farmland.” One thousand acres of farmland were preserved earlier this year with a combination of ARPA and county funds, which leveraged additional state matching funds.
“Consistent with previous budgets, the 2023 budget features a continued emphasis on criminal justice and human services to leverage state and federal grant opportunities to implement evidence-based practices in community supervision, re-entry into the community from jail, alternatives to incarceration, pre-arrest or pre-charge diversion from the criminal justice system, medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse, housing with enhanced supervision and services for individuals with mental health challenges, and treatment court for individuals with chronic substance abuse and behavioral health issues,” said Commissioner John Flannery. “Success in these areas has significantly reduced the jail population and lessened budgetary pressures at the jail without any negative impact on public safety.”
Flannery is chairman of the Franklin County Prison Board, which oversees the operation of the Franklin County Jail.
Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski added, “A strong, diversified economy is essential to the long-term quality of life in Franklin County. With a possible recession on the horizon in 2023, we are focused on ensuring the longevity of the business community with continued funding for the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, no general fund tax increase for the seventh straight year, and support for affordable housing and workforce development initiatives. In our conversations with the business community, housing and workforce issues have been a recurring priority.”
“Continued investments in bridges, bike and pedestrian trails, downtown revitalization, farmland preservation, and historic preservation will help Franklin County retain that sense of place that makes it unique and will offer rural and small-town living options along with more urban amenities, all of which will ensure Franklin County remains a great place to live, work, and play, well into the future,” noted Keller. “This budget also looks to the future by providing funding to ensure we can offer a competitive compensation package that will allow us to continue to hire and retain an efficient and effective workforce.”
Included in the budget is $10 million for the county’s multifaceted Court Facilities Improvement Project, which will co-locate all court-related offices in downtown Chambersburg. This allocation is part of the total $15.2 million capital expenditures budget for 2023 and will include renovations to the courthouse annex.
The 2023 proposed budget is available online at http://bit.ly/3EUcnsc as well as at the commissioners’ office at 272 N. Second St., Chambersburg, until 11 a.m. Dec. 14 when final adoption of the budget is anticipated.