Though a proposed Crawford County budget for 2020 isn't ready yet, county commissioners say there won't be a tax increase.

To balance this year's budget, county commissioners had to hike county real estate taxes by 2.75 mills, from 19.1 to 21.85 mills, an increase of 14.4 percent.

That increase was 2 mills for general operating expenses; 0.65 mills toward a loan payment on the new county judicial center; and 0.10 mills toward the county library tax, which was a direct pass through to the county’s library system.

Commissioners started meeting with individual county department heads in September and October to review 2020 budget requests. Commissioners also met with various nonprofit organizations that receive contributions from the county.

"We've told every one of them, there's going to have to be cuts made because we're not increasing taxes," Francis Weiderspahn Jr., commissioner chairman, said following Thursday's commissioner work session.

The 2020 budget remains about $1 million out of balance, but Stephanie Franz, the county's chief financial officer, said individual department budgets are to be reviewed again by department heads to make additional cuts.

There are better revenue and spending projections for 2020 now as the county has 10 months of data to review from this year as compared to eight months when the new budget first starts to get formed in early September, Franz said. 

At 21.85 mills, the county real estate taxes on a property with an assessed value of $25,000 is $546.25.

Commissioners hope to have a 2020 county budget ready for preliminary approval by their Nov. 27 meeting with final approval in late December. 

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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