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PT could cut senior center, Sheriff's contract
Facing two 25 percent cuts in local government funding included in the state budget, Prairie Township is looking at its funds being reduced to $402,941 within the next two years - $453,884 less than received in 2006.
According to Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, due to these cuts the township is projected to lose 26 percent in revenues on top of the nearly 50 percent cut in state funds.
Prairie Township Trustee Steve Kennedy has said at several meetings that, without an alternative revenue stream, the township will have little choice but to act responsibly and make hard choices to not exceed their financial capabilities.
However, the township proposed the establishment of a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) which will be voted on by the community in the November ballot.
“The JEDZ is a way for West Broad Street businesses and workers to help pay the bills. This will keep current service levels and planned projects in place without any additional property tax burden,” Hatmaker said.
If the JEDZ does not pass, the community could lose services such as cutting the Prairie Township Senior Center; a possibility that concerned some residents who attended the JEDZ hearing July 27.
“The board said that they would like to keep the senior center open, but there will some hard choices to make if the JEDZ doesn’t pass,” Hatmaker said. “The board pointed out such concerns would need to be balanced against concerns that some residents had about the Sheriff’s contract being cut, for instance.”
If the voters pass the JEDZ in November the township would see the first signs of the new revenue stream by either July or October 2012.
According to Hatmaker, in the meantime, cuts will be avoided as long as reasonably possible. He added that investments in some of the projects planned will suffer delay.
“This is critical at a time when the state is pulling out of its previous commitments to assist local government. The board of trustees believes that this is an excellent option to ensure continued progress in Prairie Township, but feels that it is important to let the voters have the final say,” Hatmaker said.
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