County to hike property taxes 4.95% for 2017

chestercountylogo-1First increase since 2014

WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Commissioners unanimously approved the 2017 budget this week. The budget calls for $460,094,845 in operating expenses and $87,504,129 for its capital budget.

“Led by our strategic priorities, including public safety and balanced growth, Chester County continues to invest in projects, programs and services that will benefit our residents now and into the future,” said Commissioners’ Chair Terence Farrell. 

The budget calls for a 4.95 percent increase in county real estate taxes, which equates to an additional $34.44 for a median assessed property value of $166,630. 

“The County has not raised taxes since 2013 and we’ve worked hard to keep taxes as low as possible.  This budget delivers necessary services to our residents at a fair cost, and also allows us to focus on maintaining the County’s position as one of the healthiest, best educated and best places to live in the state and the nation,” adds Farrell.

Commissioners say that they anted to keep making investments in key public safety areas.

“We remain committed to our priority for citizen safety, which means further investment in projects such as the voice radio system for emergency responders, the construction of a firing range at our public safety training campus and an upgrade in our computer aided dispatch equipment,”Vice Chair Kathi Cozzone said.  “I thank county department heads and staff for their input in maintaining – and even reducing – costs, which they’ve managed to do while preserving the quality services that our residents rely on.”

The budget also provides for continuation of open space preservation.

Commissioner Michelle Kichline also noted the importance placed on maintaining a balance of growth and preservation, which will continue with the development in 2017 of Landscapes3 and further investment in urban centers and open space. 

“Maintaining a ‘quality of place’ here in Chester County is so important to attract and keep the right businesses and people with the right workforce skills that will allow the county to continue to thrive.  That takes investment,” said Kichline.  “Even with this increase, Chester County still has one of the lowest tax rates in Southeastern Pennsylvania.”

Chester County Chief Operating Officer Mark Rupsis is tasked each year to lead the budget process with finance staff and county departments. 

“Chester County remains one of the most economically stable counties in the state and our focus on investment benefits from the maintenance of healthy fund balance reserves which has earned us three triple-A bond ratings for 10 consecutive years and which makes borrowing less expensive,” Rupsis said. These reserves also allow us to provide for rainy day funds – like those needed for human services when we had the state budget crisis.”

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