Streak continues: Dauphin County's 2019 budget makes 14 straight years without a property tax increase
Dauphin County commissioners on Wednesday adopted a $247 million county budget that does not raise property taxes in 2019 — the 14th year in a row that the county millage rate will remain the same.
The general millage rate in Dauphin County is 6.876 mills, which equates to an annual property tax bill of $687.60 on a property assessed at $100,000. For a property assessed at $300,000, the county tax bill is $2,062.80.
"We never forget that the taxpayers are relying on us to spend their money wisely and that guides every decision we make," board Chairman Jeff Haste said in a statement. "Every year it gets tougher to keep a lid on property taxes. It takes careful budgeting and a willingness always to find a better, more cost-effective ways of getting the job done for our residents."
In terms of savings, officials pointed to $1 million in cost reductions in the budget by hiring only once a quarter instead of immediately filling vacancies. Energy efficiency projects in county-owned buildings have been another priority. Officials expect to save about $80,000 next year in electricity costs.
The county also has been able to reduce health care costs by $7 million over the last decade by self-insuring.
In addition to savings, the county's 2019 budget includes $11 million for a new municipal bridge program. Under that program, which the county launched earlier this year, Dauphin County will use state transportation-related funds it receives to cover 40 percent of a municipality's cost to repair or replace old bridges.
The rest of the money for the projects can be borrowed from the Dauphin County Infrastructure Bank.
Last year, Dauphin County replaced the last of its structurally deficient bridges, giving officials financial flexibility to help local governments in need of infrastructure upgrades.
County officials are currently working with municipalities to determine the initial list of bridge projects that will receive county assistance.