MontCo Proposes 8-Percent Property Tax Hike for 2023

NORRISTOWN PA – Two public hearings on Montgomery County’s proposed 2023 budget of $530.7 million – under which county taxes would increase 8 percent – and its accompanying 5-year capital improvement plan both are scheduled for Thursday (Dec. 1, 2022) at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The in-person and hybrid virtual formats will be held from the county Board of Commissioners’ conference room in Norristown.

For county home owners, it said, the recommended increase represents an average additional payment of about $53 a year. The tax hike is expected to generate approximately $19.6 million in new net real estate tax revenue, the county said. Find the proposed budget online here, and a budget presentation here. Find the capital plan here.

Residents of fixed or low-income households may be eligible to enroll in a tax abatement program intended to reduce the impact of tax increases on their finances, it added. The county did not specify if the “abatement” program differed from its tax deferral program begun in 2021.

The county Finance Department indicated 2023 expenditures are currently planned at $530.7 million, 6.4-percent higher than in 2022, and created an $18.6 million budget deficit. Because the tax increase will not sufficiently cover expenses, the county also will balance the budget using $13.6 million of its savings, known as the unrestricted fund balance.

Commissioners’ Chair Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, acknowledged “the county is facing significant pressure this year on our budget,” even though it projects a $15 million surplus from 2022 when the financial year closes. In recent news reports Commissioner Joe Gale, the board’s sole Republican, claimed the budget deficit and needed tax increase were primarily due to what he called “out-of-control spending” on projects like its Justice Center construction.

Those interested in commenting on the budget can submit them by mail to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 311, Norristown PA 19404; by e-mail to commissioners@montcopa.org, and virtually or in person at the hearing. Individuals who hope to comment virtually must register in advance for either the morning session, here, or in the evening, here.

Commissioners will consider adopting the budget during their regularly scheduled board meeting on Dec. 15 (Thursday) at 10 a.m.

Graphic by The Post