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Bucks County Set for a Tax Increase


Posted: January 10, 2018 by Rebecca Nutt

Real estate taxes in Bucks County are expected to go up 5.4% in 2018 to cover a $10 million budget loss. It is the first time in six years that the county has experienced tax increments.

Commissioners of Bucks County voted in favor of raising real estate taxes for 2018. The unified vote is expected to generate the revenue required to compensate for a $10 million budget deficit, as per the Brian Hessenthaler, Chief Operating Officer, and still leave behind a $94,000 profit.

The $423.9 million budget calls for a tax spike of 1.25 million, increasing total county real estate taxes from 23.2 mills to 24.45 mills. A mill equals $1 for every $1000 of a real estate’s assessed value. Tax amount can be calculated by dividing an estate’s assessed value by $1000 and then multiplying it by the millage rate. As per Hessenthaler, the average proprietor in Bucks County will experience an extra $45 on their taxes in 2018.

Charles Martin, Commissioner Chair, quickly pointed out in a meeting that the unified vote is the very first time in 6 years and the second time in 12 years that real estate taxes have been increased.

The sum of dollars for a common taxpayer over the last 12 years is less than $90, according to Martin. He also believes that the finance management team did a splendid job watching the funds. But from time to time, drastic measures like these need to be taken.

The initial budget proposed in November of 2017 speculated an approximate of $17 million loss for 2018. Brian stated in Wednesday’s meeting that the finance team collaborated with the heads of the department to cut down around $7 million from the expected deficit amount. Emergency service tapped into an extra $2 million of state funding, the expected sale of county real estate added an excess $1.1 million to income estimates, and the restructuring of loan service payments trimmed down another chunk of 900,000.

According to Hessenthaler, he and his team are working very hard, and that their revenues are charting way better than expected. All three commissioners allotted most of the expenditure increases to the continuing fight against the opioid epidemic. A spiked use of drugs in the county has resulted in higher costs for the coroner, district attorney, and corrections. As per the data offered by the commissioners’ office, the number of arrests related to opioid has increased to 29.3% in the past two years.

The consequences didn’t just end at the Bucks County books. In 2012, 42% of children put into placement were there owing to parents with drug abuse problems. That number skyrocketed to 67% in 2017, as per Diane Marseglia, one of the commissioners.

According to Diane, this alone shows how the problem is affecting both families and children. She hopes to raise a good sum of money from taxes that can then be used to tackle this problem.

 

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