CHAMBERSBURG – The Franklin County Commissioners presented the 2024 proposed budget of $171.2 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 eighth consecutive year without a general fund tax increase.
Franklin County’s 2024 budget reflects funding to accomplish the following priorities:
- Streamlining government operations 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 matching state and federal funds for human services programs, including those for children, seniors, individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities, and veterans, as well as treatment for mental health and substance use;
- Providing competitive pay and benefits for county employees; and
- Ensuring continuity of operations as well as the resources that staff need to perform their jobs.
“The 2024 budget continues to provide essential services to Franklin County residents, which include the administration of justice, public health and safety, economic development, historic preservation, housing, food security, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment and prevention, the protection of children from abuse and neglect, and programs for children, veterans, senior citizens, and individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities,” said Commissioner John Flannery. “Funding is included to wrap up the final phase of the Court Facilities Improvement Project, preserve Franklin County’s valuable farmland and for general operations and other incidental capital improvements, all without the need for a general fund tax increase for the eighth year in a row.”
While the county’s revenue remains relatively flat, the proposed all-services expense budget increased by $7.5 million from 2023. This increase includes public works projects for bridge construction, capital projects for the restoration and renovation of county buildings, and public safety and security equipment at the Franklin County Jail. The proposed budget calls for the county to use $6.8 million in reserves in 2024, including ARPA and general funds, in order to balance the budget without raising property taxes.
“Ensuring a strong, diversified economy remains a top priority given its importance to the long-term quality of life in Franklin County,” said Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller. “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 eighth straight year, and support for affordable housing and work release for eligible inmates at the jail.”
Keller continued, “American Rescue Plan Act funds and hotel tax funds are allocated in this budget for continued investments in bridges, bike and pedestrian trails, downtown revitalization, farmland preservation, and the restoration and preservation of the Historic Courthouse. These efforts will further promote a strong, diversified economy while also ensuring that Franklin County retains that sense of place that makes it unique and that it remains a great place to live, work and play, well into the future.”
Commissioner Bob Ziobrowksi added, “Consistent with previous budgets, the 2024 budget uses common sense fiscal restraint and provides for public safety, the social safety net, and maintenance of all county operations and facilities. Funds from capital reserves and expected general fund savings are again utilized to achieve county goals without a property tax millage increase.”
Included in the budget is $9 million for the county’s multifaceted Court Facilities Improvement Project, which co-locates all court-related offices in downtown Chambersburg. This allocation is part of the total $12.6 million capital expenditures budget for 2024 and includes completing renovations to the courthouse annex.
The budget also provides funding to support and implement specific goals outlined in the county’s 10-year comprehensive plan, Imagine Franklin 2035, approved in September.
“With the adoption of Imagine Franklin 2035 earlier this year, the Franklin County Planning Department now turns its attention in 2024 to implementation of the plan,” said Keller. “The ‘comp plan’ will guide county policy in areas such as land use, historic preservation, economic development, agriculture preservation, open space and greenways development, housing and transportation for the next decade.”
The 2024 proposed budget is available online at https://bit.ly/49JYQRo as well as at the commissioners’ office at 272 N. Second St., Chambersburg, until 11 a.m. Dec. 13 when final adoption of the budget is anticipated.