Berks County Commissioners Pass 2022 Budget Without Tax Raise | Regional Berks News

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. – Berks County Commissioners voted Thursday night to pass a final 2022 budget of $ 576.6 million that requires no tax increase.

Robert Patrizio, the county’s chief financial officer, described some changes to the spending plan since he first introduced it on November 18.

Patrizio said revenues increased by $ 900,000 due to underestimated property taxes, a block grant allocation for state aging services and the decision to use bailout funds US for COVID-19 contract tracing and county COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Expenses increase by $ 800,000 due to aging departments being allowed to spend their allocations, Tri-County Rail Authority start-up costs and personnel costs.

Patrizio said the changes were insignificant for a budget of $ 576 million and fell short of having to revise the budget and allow an additional public inspection period.

The county portion of owners’ property tax bills will continue to be billed at 7.65 vintages.

The rate means that the owner of a property valued at $ 100,000 will continue to pay $ 765.

Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt said that although he supported the budget, he opposed a $ 500,000 allocation to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

“I will once again express my dissatisfaction with the allocation of $ 500,000 to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance,” Barnhardt said. “We had a hard time trying to get a contract (with the GRCA) in March of this year and I asked for a six month update in August on the actual allocation of this money and its impact on the economic development.”

Barnhardt said he had not received any substantive information.

“We have, over the past year, added three staff: two in economic development and one in agriculture,” he continued. “To be fiscally prudent and to make sure that we are managing the tax base as prudently as possible, I have a feeling that we are doing a duplication of services, or maybe some services are not provided at all. . “

Barnhardt continued: “We have shifted spending that was normally done by the Berks Economic Partnership and Greater Reading Economic Partnership to the County, but we continue to fund excessive sums to the chamber.”

Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said during the meeting that he sent an email to the President of the GRCA with a request for the Commissioners to make a presentation in person in early 2022.

“Let’s see what their report has to say,” Leinbach said. “They owe us a final public report.

Thursday’s meeting was held at 7 p.m. rather than the usual 10 a.m., as it was scheduled as the second meeting of the county’s “On the Road” commissioners. and was hosted by the canton of Muhlenberg.

However, the meeting took place completely virtually due to concern over escalating COVID-19 cases.

Michael Malinowski, chairman of the council of commissioners for the canton of Muhlenberg, welcomed the commissioners in a virtual message.

During the meeting, the commissioners voted to approve the meetings on the road for 2022.

Evening on-site meetings will be held at Hamburg High School on March 31, Cumru Township on June 30, Birdsboro Borough Hall on September 29, and Rockland Township on December 15.

The budget approval meeting is usually the last commissioners meeting of the year, but Leinbach said a very brief meeting will be held on December 23 at 10 a.m. to deal with some year-end business.

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