The Chester County Commissioners unanimously approved a 2010 budget of nearly $521 million this morning, holding the line on taxes.

The budget does not cut services, Commissioner Carol Aichele noted, crediting "strategic planning" and conservative debt management.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone extended thanks to the employees who worked hard to cut spending.

"I remain concerned about where we're going to be next year and the year after that," she said, noting that county employees would not be getting raises this year, a practice that can't continue indefinitely.

Commenting on the sparsely populated meeting, Aichele joked that perhaps the commissioners should not have telegraphed their intentions for a zero tax hike.

"If we want attendance, we just need to announce a 38 percent tax increase; then we can say, 'Just kidding,'" she said.

Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3021 or kbrady@phillynews.com.