1 commissioner opposes hike in county tax rate

SMETHPORT – Outgoing McKean County Commissioner Judy Church said Tuesday that she won't support a 2012 county budget that calls for a half-mill increase in the property tax rate.The budget proposed last week calls for raising the county property tax rate from 8.25 mills to 8.75 mills."Unfortunately, the budget will require a property tax increase," County Commissioners Joe DeMott and Al Pingie said in a statement that accompanies the proposed budget. The tentative spending plan is on public display at the county courthouse in Smethport."We welcome comments on the 2012 budget," DeMott and Pingie said.Church said she "refused" to sign the commissioners' statement."I don't want a tax increase," Church said. She said she will vote "no" when the commissioners meet Dec. 27 to approve the budget."We could have made some deep, hard cuts," Church said. "They (DeMott and Pingie) didn't want to do it."DeMott of Port Allegany and Pingie of Bradford Township are both Republicans and won re-election last month.Church, a Smethport resident, is the lone Democrat on the Board of Commissioners. She lost her bid for re-election last month to Cliff Lane, a Democrat from Annin Township and a former county commissioner.Church, who has served as a commissioner for four years, said "there are other things we could do" to hold the line on taxes. "It would take some work, but we could do it," she said.Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 edition of The Kane Republican for more.