Tax increase

GREENVILLE — Greenville borough council members voted Monday to raise property taxes 2 mills after deciding earlier this month there was nowhere else to trim the budget.

Currently, Greenville’s property tax rate is 36.08 mills, which includes 24.5 mills for the general fund, 3 mills for the fire department and 8.58 mills for debt services, including loan payments for the West Salem Township sports complex.

The 2020 budget calls for a property tax rate of 38.08 mills, including a 2 mill increase in the debt service fund to 10.58 mills from 8.58 mills.

Every year borough expenses increase $40,000 to $60,000, said Jasson Urey, borough manager. This includes anything from basic utilities to employee costs and gas prices for vehicles, he said.

The biggest challenge Urey faced while assembling the budget was trying to stabilize expenses, he said.

“When your revenue goes down, you gotta look for ways to balance your budget,” Urey said.

Council members are also looking to adopt a fire service fee next year, which would help fund the fire department rather than using tax dollars to pay for expenses, he said.

“This would be charged to every property in the borough,” Urey said. “Right now we generate $90,000 or 3 mills from tax dollars specific to the fire department.”  

Roughly $600,000 is allotted for the fire department next year, Urey said.

“It’s just the standard costs,” Urey said of the fire department budget. “Costs keep increasing every year, so those costs keep going up.”

A fire service fee advisory committee consists of council President Paul Hamill, Ben Beck, Bob Schmoll, Janice Schwanbeck, Jonathan Bailey, Martha Johnson, Rev. Dr. Sean Hall and Steve Thompson.

Hamill said the fee would give property owners a “reduced tax rate.”

“The main purpose is to stabilize and maintain our fire department,” he said. “I’m gonna try and get a meeting before the first of the year. We do have a July-August deadline to get a recommendation to council.”

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