Lebanon City Council approved a 2022 budget last night that will not hike taxes for the seventh straight year.

Council also took action to fund street resurfacing projects throughout the city.

$12.6 million balanced budget for 2022

Council unanimously passed an ordinance approving Mayor Sherry Capello’s spending plan for next year, based on expected revenues of $12,632,378 plus a carryover balance from 2021 of $2,657,922. Expenses for next year are projected to be $15,290,300.

A related ordinance passed on first reading will officially keep property tax rates unchanged. Capello remarked that “it’s my favorite ordinance of the year, for the seventh straight year.”

A city home with an assessed value of $100,000 will continue to pay a $458 annual city property tax. The average assessed value of city homes is $103,296, according to the mayor.

The 1.9% earned income tax (the city keeps 1.4%, the rest goes to city schools) and the property tax are the two largest sources of revenue for the city.

The mayor’s budget package noted that the COVID pandemic reduced E.I.T. receipts in 2020 and 2021, and that she expects them to stay depressed in 2022. The loss has been reduced by Payroll Protection Program receipts and “other aid,” the mayor said.

The city’s police department will consume about 34% of the 2022 budget, which includes a $5,000 sign-on bonus or training reimbursement to attract at least three new officers.

Streets and highways

Council passed two resolutions adopting or adjusting street repaving reimbursement agreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as part of the years-long project to resurface Cumberland, Walnut, 9th, and 10th streets.

The city is required to pay contractors directly, and PennDOT will reimburse it for a portion of the costs.

The mayor reported that plans are also underway to resurface parts of Lehman and Walton streets, and council passed a resolution moving $256,613 in unused funds from various 2017 through 2019 budget allocations to the upcoming project.

Council also passed an ordinance on final reading changing the name of one of the city’s two Walnut streets to Apricot Street.

The city’s main eastbound artery, U.S. Route 422 East, will now be the Lebanon’s sole Walnut Street. The change was suggested to avoid confusion on the part of emergency services.

Other business before City Council

  • With the year 83% complete, Capello reported that expenditures were at 75% of budget projections and receipts at 102%.
  • Capello told council that she has appointed Detective Ryan Mong to the city’s Police Pension Board. He will fill the unexpired term of Patrolman John Zatorski, effective Oct. 26. Zatorski has retired from the force.
  • Council accepted a proposal from Barbacane Thornton & Co. of Wilmington, Delaware, to audit various city accounts for 2021, with options to extend through Dec. 31, 2023. The city will pay Barbacane $32,500 per year.

Next council meetings

City Council’s next pre-council planning meeting will be on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 4:45 p.m. The next regular monthly council meeting will be on Monday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in council chambers, Room 210, Municipal Building, 400 S. 8th St., Lebanon.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...