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MontCo OKs $481M Budget; Tax Rate Unchanged

Heading out in the mail next March.

Heading out in the mail next March.

NORRISTOWN PA – Montgomery County’s (PA) tax rate will remain unchanged during 2009 after county commissioners Monday (Dec. 22, 2008) voted 2-1 to approve a $481.9 million budget for next year’s operations.

As a result, the county’s real estate tax rate for overall operating expenses next year remains at 2.695 mills, or about $2.70 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Bottom line: on a home in Lower Pottsgrove assessed at $200,000, its owners will pay about $540 in county property taxes in 2009.

Higher costs and declining revenues left the commissioners with a $42.5 million gap at the start of the budget process. Ultimately commissioners balanced the spending plan by allocating $19.5 million from unreserved funds – the county’s savings account – and changing health care providers for its employees to save another $4.2 million. In addition, most county departments were forced to cut spending by 5 percent, The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper reported.

The vote was divided, as it has been on other issues much of the year, with Chairman James Matthews and Vice Chairman Joseph Hoeffel III deciding for approval and Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. in opposition. Castor contended the budget failed to fully meet county pension fund requirements, according to The Mercury.

County and Lower Pottsgrove Township tax bills will mailed March 1.

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