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The Future Is Worrisome, but Adams County Taxes will not Increase in 2021

“No Tax Increase! Those are 3 words we love to hear,” said County Commissioner Randy Phiel after the Adams County Commissioners reviewed and tentatively adopted the proposed 2021 budget yesterday. 

The budget is available for viewing and public comment is welcome.  The commissioners expect to vote on the budget at their meeting on December 16.

Finance Department Purchasing Coordinator Sara Brensinger said the proposed budget came in at $71,089,486 with a deficit of approximately $3 million.   The county will use the its reserves to balance the budget.

Finance Department Director Melissa Devlin said “The good, the bad, and the balance” was the theme of the budget proposal and that the 2021 budget changed less than one percent from the 2020 budget.

“We have a healthy fiscal reserve, thank goodness, but bond raters do not like to see us going into it,” said Phiel.

The commissioners said the county had kept expenses in line and made some good decisions this year.

The county refinanced some of their debt into a new bond fund with an AA2 rating this year. “Due to our excellent bond rating we were able to borrow in a favorable market,” said Commissioner Jim Martin. 

Looking forward to the budgets in 2021-24, County Staff Accountant Phil Swope said the growth in expenditures would likely outweigh the growth the revenues.  “In 2022, 2023, and 2024 we expect to be about $2.2 or $2.4 million dollars in deficits,” said Swope. “We are going to be looking at some challenges and making some decisions.”

Saying he had heard of three restaurants that had recently closed due to COVID cases, Commissioner Marty Qually warned the pandemic would create problems for the budget going forward.  “If this continues people will not have the confidence to bring in new revenue. I try to be optimistic, but this is not the most favorable end of year I’ve had since being commissioner,” said Qually.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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