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Township sees drastic property tax decrease - again - abc27 WHTM

Adams County

Township sees drastic property tax decrease - again

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Many places are dealing with tax hikes next year, but there is one place where just the opposite is happening.

Mount Joy Township in Adams County is a small community of a couple thousand people. At a time when many places are dealing with tax increases, taxes in the township are going down by a lot.

Township supervisor John Gormont says they've been able to lower taxes each of the last two years and plan to do it again next year. Property taxes have dropped dramatically from 1.56 in 2011 to just .17 in 2013.

Things weren't always like this. Back in 2009, the township raised taxes by 1,500 percent. Gormont knew he had to get involved.

"Dave Updyke and I ran together. We're an oddball couple. Dave is a Republican and I'm a Democrat, and we ran as a team," he said.

And they won. Gormont made the usual cuts, but he didn't stop there.

"The first thing we did was cut the phone bill in half by going to the service provider and getting rid of the phone lines," he said. "We had about five or six phone lines for three people, that's kind of absurd."

He also cut costs in heating the township building by filling up on propane in the summer when it's cheaper. And it worked.

"As of the middle of March of this year, the township is absolutely, totally debt free," he said.

Gormont says this small town should be a lesson to its bigger neighbors.

"I believe there's an opportunity in every level of government - whether it's Mount Joy, Adams County, the state of Pennsylvania, or the federal government - to save money by making tough decisions," he said.

Gormont is the only Democrat on the board. He says that hasn't been a problem. He plans to continue cutting taxes and hopes other communities follow their example.

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