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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Muller Proposes No Tax Hike in Lehigh County in 2017

LC Exec Tom Muller
Sent From Lehigh County: Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller today released his administration's proposed 2017 budget at the historic Limeport Stadium--Lehigh County's "Field of Dreams".

The $399.8 million budget features no tax increase and includes a reserve 20% above recommended guidelines. The County's millage rate will remain at 3.68 and the average homeowner will pay $668 in County real estate taxes.

"Proposing a budget with no tax increase has been made possible by the efforts of our employees to every day to serve our citizens effectively and efficiently," said Muller. "We expect to end 2016 with a $5.3 million surplus thanks to their efforts." A focus on employee "wellness" has also helped keep healthcare costs under control.

This is the third consecutive year that Muller's administration has successfully wiped out a budgeted deficit and returned a surplus.

The 2016 surplus and a $2.4 million draw down of reserves is being used to offset a $7.7 million budget deficit for 2017 generated by small tax cuts pushed through by commissioners over the past two years.

After 8 years of personnel reductions, the 2017 count is flat overall with 9 new positions being added--primarily to public safety areas--offset by reductions through attrition. The personnel total of 1,962 is below the 1988 level for the County.

The 2017 Proposed Budget reinstates funding taken away from the Northern Lehigh Community Center by the commissioners last year, provides funding for the 75th anniversary of the naming of MacArthur Road in Whitehall and contributes to the capital campaign for new lights for Limeport Stadium in addition to numerous "Quality of Life" and "Tourism" grants.

The 2017 Proposed Budget also includes the $2 million for farmland preservation that had been proposed by Muller and was recently approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The Lehigh County Board of Commissioners will now begin a series of hearings in September leading up to a final budget vote by the end of October.

The full, detailed Lehigh County 2017 Proposed Budget may be viewed on the County's website:


Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Muller now will initiate a free Veteran Photo ID for all Lehigh Valley vets. Montgomery County goes.

Anonymous said...

A cut above the usual hacks both parties offer up.

Anonymous said...

6:37 -

There is no longer a need for a county-issued veteran ID card. The state now has a veteran designation that goes on your drivers license or photo ID.

Anonymous said...

For everyone that likes the bitch about Rs vs. Ds in Lehigh County....one has to admit that this government finally seems to be responsible and serving the community well regardless of the individual's party label. Kudos to both sides finally.

Ron Beitler said...

@845am. Agreed. I don't think that has a place in the Lehigh County conversation. The more local you get the R vs. D narratives just don't apply as much. Which is a wonderful break during a Presidential cycle.

In this case I really do think that Lehigh County Government is firing on all cylinders right now. Includes Dem admin and Republican controlled legislative board. On the board there is a large R majority but it also has two good democrats in the minority who are very much a part of the process. They don't always agree but debate is always civil and healthy.

There are some that often vote together and are more like minded but there really isn't have a bloc like there used to be. Everyone seems to think for themselves. In a time when "Kick em all out of office" is the war cry (for good reason) I think I would vote for just about every incumbent in Lehigh County Government for one more cycle. Things are working that good right now.

There are some like Percy Dougherty who have served forever and I know that sounds hypocritical since I argue for term limits. But the key is these are part timers. Volunteers basically. They get paid small stipends but (to do the job right) commit huge amounts of time. Most work FT jobs. I think anyone on a government full time salary and benefits needs the term limit.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it, was it a 7+ million dollar deficit or a 5 million dollar surplus for 2016? Sounds to me like a 2 million actual drawdown

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Muller could sit down and teach the Bethlehem area Supt. of schools and a few school board members how to control their budgets. Good work Mr. Muller.

Anonymous said...

Is he married to judge McGinley too or just the other two guys?

Bernie O'Hare said...

His wife is not a judge, but smart enough to be one.

Anonymous said...

Percy Dougherty is Lehigh County's equivalent of the "Nutty Professor". In my opinion they all need to give back their first term salary over-payments. Accept the one lady that didn't take a salary. Firing on all cylinders how about people don't cast stones in glass houses.