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County Council Passes 2012 Budget With No Tax Increase

Fund balance will cover shortfall, controller says.

After weeks of , Northampton County Council finally passed the 2012 budget Thursday evening 6-3, according to an article in the Morning Call.

Council members Barbara Thierry, Ron Angle and Bruce Gilbert voted against the budget, but after it was passed, Angle then made the motion to keep taxes flat. That move passed 8-1 with Councilwoman Peg Ferraro dissenting.

A $3.6 million shortfall will be covered by the county's fund balance, estimated at $60 million by County Controller Stephen Barron.

The agreement to leave taxes at the current rate of 10.8 mills came after the council voted for two amendments to the budget—$400,000 to preserve open space and another $25,000 buy a new vehicle for the district attorney's office.

However, County Executive John Stoffa, whose original proposed budget included a 9.3 percent tax increase, said relying on the fund balance was unwise. He said county auditors estimated $24 million will be needed to pay off a variable rate swaption loan and an additional $20 million will be needed for county reserves in case of a pressing emergency.

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