Last year residents in Cambria County were upset about a tax increase that had to be approved in court because it pushed them over the millage limit.
Looking at the preliminary budget, officials say 2017 will bring a small decrease in taxes.
“A savings is a savings,” Cambria County president commissioner Tom Chernisky says.
“No matter what, you’re going to pay less in Cambria County taxes next year,” county controller Ed Cernic Junior adds.
Last year the Cambria County commissioners passed a five mill tax hike. One mill went towards the deficit. On average it cost $59 per year per homeowner. The community that averaged the highest increase was Westmont Borough.
“When you inherit an $8.5 million deficit it takes a lot of team work to move forward, so the goal is to get this budget going north, no longer down,” Chernisky says.
Heading into 2017, the commissioners say the preliminary budget allows for a half-mill decrease, or about $6 per homeowner.
“The half-mill decrease was in the debt service fund,” Cernic explains.
Cernic goes on to tell us they were able to do this by refinancing the debt and making cuts, like the county detention center, “We took advantage of lower interest rates. We took advantage of a different payment schedule within the same time frame, but the debt payment will take care of all of that. We’ll not be taking any money from the general fund to pay debt payments like we have in the past.”
The commissioners say tax decreases are basically unheard of, but they think more cuts could come to people who live in Cambria County in the future.
“If there’s things we need to cut that we should not be doing, absolutely we’ll make adjustments,” Chernisky says.