People assume like we don’t pay taxes. Believe me, I pay taxes.
To me, the major objective of being Berks County Commissioner is being a good steward of people’s tax dollars because they’re critically important not only to the taxpayer, but to the proper function of county government. With that being said, those tax dollars have to stretch a lot further because I’m very mindful of how it’s being spent.
Unfortunately, almost all the money that the county takes in is property tax, that’s how the county government functions. Until the state government gives us a different way to fund county government, we’re stuck with asking the property owners for money. Not through sales tax, not through income tax, but through property tax. That makes a lot onerous on people, especially seniors who are being taxed out of their homes.
We look at that very, very hard and make sure that we’re keeping our spending in check. We try to stay at or below inflationary rates because people aren’t getting increases in the community. Whether it’s fixed income, social security, or in some cases, community members who have gone without wage increases for many years, we have to understand that it’s impactful to people when you just haphazardly raise taxes because you’re not watching the store.
The most important thing we do is watch the money and make sure it’s being used in the most effective way possible. I treat the community’s tax dollars as if it’s my own because I am a taxpayer, so when I look at things, I look at it from the perspective of the taxpayer.