2019 Budget Makes Right Choices & Right Investments
(Allentown, PA)- Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong today released his administration’s Proposed 2019 Budget.
The proposed budget makes substantial investments in Lehigh County operations, including $68 million in financing for the addition of a new wing and the renovation of the Cedarbrook Senior Care and Rehabilitation Center, $2 million for farmland preservation, $9 Million in renovations to the Historic Courthouse, $4 Million for the 1964 Courthouse which includes needed HVAC replacement and $3.5 million in state-directed procurement of new voter equipment.
Lehigh County will add 39 new positions, a majority of which are the result of the 9-1-1 consolidation with Allentown. In total, 34 of those positions are 9-1-1 related, taking the county to a total of 2,003 employees. Lehigh County spends 66 cents of every tax dollar on law & order which makes this expansion a critical element of upholding public safety and supporting law enforcement.
The county’s stabilization fund is projected at $19.6 million. The proposed budget has a $13.75 million contribution to the employee pension fund which is 87.9% funded. Healthcare Costs are projected to be $29.6 Million with employees contributing $4.9 Million towards their coverage.
The $506.1 million-dollar budget features a return to the 2015 millage rate of 3.79. The average homeowner will pay $769.37 in real estate taxes based off of a median home assessed at $203,000. For frame of reference, a county resident with a home valued at $100,000 would see a $15 increase, while a $200,000 home would witness a $30 increase. Lehigh County’s real estate taxes are below neighboring counties.
“This year’s new millage rate is a reflection of my administration’s commitment to strong, forward-thinking fiscal management that prioritizes the delivery of quality services and maintains the fiscal stability of the county through our five-year fiscal plan,” said Armstrong.
Among the factors leading to the new 3.79 millage rate, was the county’s decision to pay for capital expenses out of operating revenue as opposed to financing, the state-directed mandate to procure new voting equipment and reductions in revenue from holding fees at our jail.
“Lehigh County elected me to make the tough and responsible decisions. This is about more than just revenue and spending, it’s a decision about taking steps now too maintain our current services, short vs. long-term planning, and making the right decision, not the political one,” said Armstrong.
The Proposed 2019 Budget now goes before the Board of Commissioners for September hearings leading up to a final October vote on the budget.
The full, detailed Lehigh County Proposed Budget may be viewed on the County’s website at: www.lehighcounty.org
Information provided to TVL by:
Public Information Officer
County of Lehigh, Office of the County Executive
17 S. 7th Street, 4th Floor, Suite 436
Allentown, PA 18101