Cumberland County commissioners are still working to close a $9.5 million budget gap.
At a meeting Monday morning, several county residents asked commissioners not to eliminate funding for farmland preservation for fear that it would never be reinstated. They also expressed concern over a proposed 12 percent increase in property taxes.
"I think they have a hard decision to make." said Bob Roush of West Pennsboro Township. "I think they really need to get serious about cutting."
Commissioner Barbara Cross told the room the county population continues to grow and "bills must be paid."
"With those increases in populations comes a demand for services that the county is still responsible to deliver," Cross said. "I would think that all of you demand the highest quality of services. We need revenue to make that happen."
The newest member of the board, Jim Hertzler, said he has brought several cost saving ideas to the table, including no salary increases for county employees.
"I also suggested that we not fill vacancies and I also suggested we eliminate positions through attrition," Hertzler said.
Cross said the county has not increased taxes for the past three years. She added that if the 12 percent tax increase is approved, a person with a home valued at $180,000 would pay an additional $40 a year.
"It still leaves us much lower than any surrounding county," said Rick Rovegno of South Middleton Township.
"There will be some winners and some losers as we work ourselves through this process," said commissioner Gary Eichelberger. "That is just the reality."
Commissioners will vote on the budget December 20.