Dauphin County expects no property tax increase for a 13th consecutive year, but a change will be coming to the county district attorney’s office.
The county made two major announcements today.
First of all, the county unveiled a $241 million preliminary budget that contains no increase in the county portion of the property tax, which will remain unchanged at 6.876 mills.
The county does expect to spend more than it takes in for 2018, but plans to use as much as $12.5 million in reserve funds to make up the shortfall. The county stated that it still expects to have a reserve fund balance of about $25 million by the end of 2018.
Last year, Dauphin County also balanced its budget by dipping into its reserve fund. It estimated that it would spend $12.5 million in reserves, but will only spend about $5.2 million by year-end, according to current county estimates.
The county stated today that it will add one full-time and two part-time deputies in the county coroner’s office in 2018 to deal with the rise in opioid-related deaths. Last year, there were 85 overdose deaths in the county. So far this year, there have been 82, and the coroner expects more than 100 by Dec. 31.
“This board pledged to do all we can to improve the lives of our residents,” said board Chairman Jeff Haste in a statement. “Holding the line on taxes for 13 years and combatting the devastating opioid epidemic are part of that promise.”
The county commissioners are expected to pass the final 2018 budget at their Dec. 13 meeting.
The county also said today it expects First District Attorney Fran Chardo to be named the new district attorney.
Court of Common Pleas judges held a “straw vote” indicating that they would appoint Chardo. The straw vote was taken so that Chardo would be prepared to move into the position when the official vote is taken on Jan. 2.
“The straw vote allows for some level of preparation and transition to head an office that is staffed with 30 attorneys processing an annual case load of more than 7,000 new dockets,” according to President Judge Richard A. Lewis.
The position will become vacant in January as current District Attorney Ed Marsico recently was elected judge to the Court of Common Pleas. Chardo will serve the remainder of Marsico’s term.