Commissioners OK 2017 budget
Lehigh County commissioners approved the 2017 budget amounting to $402.8 million at their Oct. 26 meeting.
The budget, which includes 16 amendments, was approved by a vote of 5-3 with Commissioners Geoff Brace, David Jones Sr. and Dan Hartzell voting in opposition.
Amendments include a $1.1 million tax cut and a one-time $400,000 rebate. The budget includes no tax increase, with a millage rate of 3.64 mills.
The budget results in residents saving $10.50 on a home assessed at $200,000.
Hartzell said he voted in opposition due to the county possibly needing to borrow funds in the future.
“I think it’s the conservative in me who wants to keep that as our nest egg,” he explained.
Commissioner Michael Schware responded to Hartzell, stressing the past two years the county did not have to borrow money due to the stabilization fund breaking even.
Despite three commissioners voting against the budget, Commissioner Percy Dougherty noted the board worked together in developing the 2017 budget.
“There was not a lot of division or antagonism that often accompanies budget discussions,” he said.
Board Chairman Brad Osborne also spoke favorably of the budget process.
“While the amended budget is not perfect, it strikes the right balance between the needs of the county and the interests of the taxpayer,” he said.
Osborne said county Executive Tom Muller has until Nov. 6 to veto the budget, if he chooses to.
Commissioner Marty Nothstein was not present for the meeting.