Hampton council passes $13.3 million budget

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Hampton council adopted a $13.3 million budget for 2013 and set the property tax rate at 2.4 mills.

Council president Victor Son said Dec. 19 that council had to make certain assumptions to come up with the millage rate, due to outstanding property assessment appeals.

He said the certified assessed value by the county in January was more than $1.3 billion, while the original court-ordered 2013 assessed value totaled more than $1.7 billion, or an increase of about 31 percent.

"We assumed there will be some reductions in that value based on the outcome of appeals," he said. Township officials decided on a 27.5 percent final increase in assessed values or a $1.67 billion total assessment for 2013.

Budgeted expenses total $13,301,200, which Mr. Son said is less than a 1 percent increase over this year's total.

Highlights in the 2013 budget include $200,000 in state mandated pension contributions, $150,000 in police buy backs due to anticipated retirements, and $80,000 in increased worker compensation premiums.

"While the retirements will reap long-term budget benefits, there is short-term pain," said Mr. Son. "Without those unusual items, the budgeted expenses would have actually been below 2012 expenditures."

Earned income tax collections in Hampton represent a higher percentage of revenue than real estate taxes, but they have dropped approximately $200,000 since a peak in 2011 to just over $4.1 million in 2012. Mr. Son noted that earned Income tax collections are projected to continue to erode to under $4.1 million in 2013.

"Over the last few years, we have used our excess reserve balance at the end of the year to help fund any budget shortfalls and avoid raising millage," he added, noting that the amount used in 2012 was about $400,000.

"Our philosophy is to match revenue to expenses every year with zero-based budgeting and then set the rate accordingly," Mr. Son said. "If real estate assessment appeals come in largely different than what we expect, then we will adjust the millage before our bills go out in May."

neigh_north

Jill Cueni-Cohen, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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