2021 Approved Budget
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dauphin County Commissioners hold the line on taxes for 16th straight year in 2021 budget
HARRISBURG, PA (Dec. 16, 2020) – The Dauphin County Commissioners today approved a $187.7 million budget for 2021 that holds the line on property taxes for the 16th straight year while ensuring residents receive vital services.
Since the Commissioners unveiled the spending plan last month, the board identified an additional $3.7 million in spending reductions – critical savings that safeguard county government operations in the event of unexpected costs.
“From the outset, we were determined not to raise taxes and add to the financial burden many of our residents face because of the coronavirus,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “We worked hard to stretch every dollar, so the county is prepared to face whatever challenges 2021 may bring.’’
In 2020, a significant, unexpected cost was increased election expenses resulting from mandates ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf. Mailing and printing ballots and additional staff costs to verify and count results cost the county $2 million -- $700,000 more than anticipated.
“With the continuing economic strain caused by COVID-19 and the impact on local governments, it is more important than ever for Gov. Wolf to refrain from further unfunded mandates,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “I’m proud of how our election staff and volunteers rose to the challenge, but the fact is that added expenses forced on us by the state make it tougher every year to hold the line on property taxes.’’
Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III praised the county’s department heads, judges, and row officers for their continued efforts to reign in expenses.
“Holding the line on taxes for 16 years is a team effort, and I want to thank everyone at the county who helped make this possible,’’ Hartwick said. “This budget balances fiscal responsibility with the need to serve and protect our most vulnerable residents.
Among the steps taken to balance the 2021 budget:
- The Commissioners used $7.5 million of the $25.1 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money to balance the budget. Most of the CARES Act funding -- $17 million – went to help municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofits.
- The county expects to receive about $1.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for countywide coronavirus-related expenses.
- Furloughs and leaving vacant positions unfilled saved about $5.5 million in 2020.
- Self-insuring for health care saved $3.9 million in 2020 and is expected to save $500,000 in 2021.