Despite rising costs, commissioners don't anticipate tax hike

·2 min read

Oct. 21—Crawford County is facing rising costs for 2022, including a more than 9 percent jump in employee health care costs, but commissioners say they're committed to holding the line on any tax increase.

Commissioners have been meeting with various county offices and departments in preparation of a forming a preliminary 2022 county budget.

"There's a significant health care hit we have to deal with," Commissioner Chairman Eric Henry said of the county's employee health care costs for next year.

The county's health care coverage is self-insured through the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

The county is expecting about a 9.2 percent — or $650,000 — jump in employee health care costs for 2022, according to Henry and Stephanie Franz, the county's chief financial officer.

Employee health care insurance is projected to cost the county more than $8 million this year with about two months remaining, Franz said, adding that the total amount could be on par with the $8.2 million spent on employee health care in 2020.

However, for 2022, employee health care costs are expected to be higher — between $8.4 million to as much as $9 million, she estimated.

"It's this time of year we have to make tough decisions," Henry said.

"We appreciate every one working with us and realizing there's not much room for error this year," he added.

Henry and fellow Commissioners Christopher Soff and Francis Weiderspahn Jr. said their goal is not to increase the county's real estate property tax rate for 2022.

If the county's current real estate property tax rate of 21.85 mills remains unchanged for 2022, the county real estate taxes on a property with an assessed value of $25,000 would remain at $546.25 a year.

"I cannot imagine a scenario where we are raising taxes," Soff said.

"Our goal is not to have a tax increase," Henry said of next year's county budget. "I think this board will do the same thing we did last year — we will make it balance."

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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