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Two river towns’ budgets stay same


October 26, 2011

There will be no increases in taxes in two river towns in Pennsylvania. In Shohola, millage remains the same as last year at 9.25 mills from the council and 1.75 mills from the fire company. In Damascus, the millage remains unchanged from last year’s total of 2.15.

The similarity ends there, since the population of Shohola takes a big leap in the summer from 2,800 permanent residents to 4,825 total taxable parcels with the influx of summer residents.

Damascus’ population, on the other hand, stays relatively steadier from 2,738 residents in the winter and 3,686 parcels in the summer.

“We kept our expenses down as best as we can in recent years,” said Dolores Card, Damascus Township Treasurer. “For example, I search for different insurance policies that give us a better rate. I do a lot of research in these matters.”

Card credits her experience in fiscal matters from the six years she spent as township auditor.

“I’m a shopper who likes to get the best deal for our money,” she said. Card said that the insurance bill for this year would be less than last year. “For everything that this township needs, I shop around for the best deal I can get.”
The township uses the state programs like COSTARS to get a better deal on certain things, she said.

“We have to bid out many things like calcium, fuel, propane and keep to the lowest bid,” she said.

Shohola Township is being equally frugal.

“There were no cuts in programs or personnel in Shohola,” said Diana Blume, Shohola treasurer. “We have been very conservative in our spending for the last few years.”
Any expenses encountered during the recent storms should be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she said.

“When you’re spending tax dollars, you want to be very conservative during difficult times,” she said. “We didn’t raise taxes in 2011, and we won’t next year. As long as we can operate this way, we’ll be all right.”

A summary of the highlights of the two budgets

Damascus total expenses for 2012 will be $1,000,660. Last year that figure was $1,084,000. Total income for 2012 will be $1,117,282. Last year that figure was $1,190,786.

Shohola’s total expenses for 2012 will be $799,613. Last year that figure was $779,000. Total income for 2012 will be $763,562. Last year that figure was $764,010.