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Linglestown Gazette: Bad economy bad for LP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bad economy bad for LP

Lower Paxton hasn’t escaped the grips of the economic downturn – projections show the township facing a $1 million budget shortfall over the next 18 months.

Lower-than-projected revenue is the culprit. Taxes and fees linked to new development are significantly down because real estate sales have tanked in the township. Here’s proof – only 15 new homes have been constructed in Lower Paxton through May, putting the township on a pace to get 45 new residences during 2009 – nowhere close to the average of 180 in recent years.

The township has about $7 million in a savings account, so there’s no near-term financial emergency. Numbers presented last night show the surplus getting whittled down to under $5 million at the end of 2010 if no corrective actions are taken.

Following a long debate, the supervisors voted to take an immediate cost-cutting step by only hiring one new police officer instead of the three they had approved a few weeks ago.

Other belt-tightening measures that could be implemented in the near future include rolling layoffs of township employees, offering employees an early-retirement program, and delaying major purchases and projects.

Board Chairman Bill Hawk indicated that a tax hike would be implemented only as a last-gasp move to balance the books.

CLICK HERE for a more detailed account of the meeting provided by community watchdog group SWAN.


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