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Here's why Monroe County is raising property taxes for the first time in 12 years

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The 2024 Monroe County budget, which includes a dip in the total and an increase in tax millage, was unanimously approved by the Monroe County commissioners on Dec. 20.

Next year's budget will be $162.6 million, a decrease of $17.8 million from 2023's total of 180.4 million.

The general fund budget, which comes from real estate taxes, departmental revenue, grants and contribution from the fund balance, in addition to other sources, totals $77.2 million for 2024. That's up 10.6% from 2023’s general fund budget of $69.8 million.

Property tax millage will go up as part of the adopted budget, from 3.2273 mills in 2023 to 3.9773 mills in 2024.

Revenue from real estate taxes is budgeted at $58.2 million for 2024, up 22.3% from $47.6 million in the 2023 budget.

Of interest:Middle Smithfield Twp. supervisors adopt Local Services Tax after public hearing

When asked why millage is going up, Director of Fiscal Affairs Jennifer Barclay stated that it was the first time in 12 years it had gone up, and that funds received during COVID, and from the American Rescue Plan, are no more.

“It’s a need to increase taxes for the first time in 12 years to keep up with our normal operating expenses for the county,” said Barclay.

“The tax increase in 2024 is not so much driven by the expenses being so high as much as it is the fact that we have been balancing our budget each year for eleven years with a contribution from our fund balance,” Barclay emailed. “The County’s fund balance was supplemented by federal grants such as the American Rescue Plan over the past three years, otherwise a tax increase would have been necessary in 2021.”

Although the 2024 budget includes about $15.4 million from the American Rescue Plan, that is not new funding.

“Monroe County received $33 million in American Rescue Plan dollars, half in 2021 and half in 2022,” emailed Barclay. “The amount in the 2024 budget is the remaining balance of unspent funds at the end of 2023.”

One mill is 1/1000th of a dollar, or $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value. The decimal version of the millage is multiplied by the property assessment to calculate property taxes.

For example, if there was a property that was assessed at $200,000, and the millage rate was 3.9773, the property tax on that property would be $200,000 x .0039773, or $795.46.

2024 spending on the courthouse expansion is 35% of 2023 spending, with $39.4 million budgeted for the expansion in 2023, and $13.8 million planned to be spent in 2024.

Personnel wages and overtime make up the biggest chunk of budget expenditures (28.7%) at $42 million.

When asked about the increase in grants and reimbursement from 2023 to 2024, Barclay wrote that the $5 million increase was primarily from Act 12 grant funds that fund the Control Center ($3.6 million), their fiscal year funds that include Children & Youth, Aging and Monroe County Transit Authority ($900,000), and the Drug and Alcohol opioid settlement ($500,000).

Max Augugliaro is the public safety and government watchdog reporter at the Pocono Record. Reach him at