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BROOKVILLE â€” Tuesday, Jefferson Countyâ€™s Financial Planner Debbie Hackett announced there will be no tax increase for the coming year.
But this good news may not last long into the future.
â€śWe will not be having a tax increase at this point, but we have done some studies looking out in the future, and we canâ€™t say that thatâ€™s necessarily going to go past this year,â€ť Hackett said.
Tuesday, the Jefferson County Commissioners approved to place the 2012 budget on display for 20 days, with final adoption scheduled for Dec. 13.
According to Hackett, $11,527,688 is the countyâ€™s total revenue for the
general fund. The general fundâ€™s total deficit is $53,752.
But that number, unlike in past years, will be taken from the countyâ€™s fund balance of $1,975,018.
â€śFortunately, Jefferson County is now in a position where we actually have a fund balance at the end of the year, so we can take that deficit out of our fund balance,â€ť Hackett said.
Of the $1,975,018, some of the money is restricted, some is non-spendable, and some has already been assigned for other purposes, but a â€śmajority of it is unassigned,â€ť Hackett said.
County Commission Chairman Paul Corbin, along with Commissioners Jim McIntyre and Jeff Pisarcik recently attended a County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) convention and learned that the future of the countyâ€™s funding looks a little bleak.
â€śEven though we were able to hold our line on our budget this year â€¦ that sure doesnâ€™t say that in future years, things might have to be different,â€ť Corbin said.
According to Corbin, the revenue of the state to date is $282 million behind where it was last year.
â€śIf youâ€™re in a deficit position, youâ€™re going to have to cut things back,â€ť he said. â€śThe word (at the CCAP convention) was, you thought the budget process this year was difficult to get through, just wait till next year.â€ť
McIntyre also expressed worry, especially for human services.
â€śOn the horizon, it looks like thereâ€™s going to be a new way of conducting human services across the board, beyond Children and Youth, Drug and Alcohol, MH/MR â€” there are some major issues looming there,â€ť McIntyre said. â€śItâ€™s real.â€ť
McIntyre said the stateâ€™s Department of Welfare must trim $400 million off the state budget by June 30, 2012.
â€śNobody knows how thatâ€™s going to play out, so we have to be prepared for how we might deal with it,â€ť he said. â€śThey say deliver the services more cost-effectively, but I donâ€™t know how much more cost-effective you can get. Because everybodyâ€™s been cutting the waste to run these programs efficiently.â€ť
Although thereâ€™s not a lot of good financial news, the commissioners are hopeful that the Marcellus Shale industry will grow even more in the county.
â€śAs the Marcellus Shale industry comes more to Jefferson County, maybe our revenues will increase from taxes, business expansion,â€ť Corbin said. â€śThatâ€™s one of the reasons why we tried to hold the line this year and hopefully look to that growth â€¦ and a lot of our local industries are growing because of it.â€ť
In other business:
â€˘ Jefferson County Treasurer Jim â€śMoonâ€ť VanSteenberg reported that the Jefferson County Treasurerâ€™s office will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. today to anyone eligible for a Military Hunting License and/or a Doe License.
VanSteenberg said he has had tremendous response with this practice in past years. Anyone interested must have their leave papers, military ID and LES statement ready.
Furthermore, if a person is not eligible for a full military hunting license at the reduced rate, the Treasurerâ€™s office can still issue a Military Doe License. For anyone not able to visit the Treasurerâ€™s Office today, call VanSteenberg at 814-856-2489.
â€˘ The commissioners entered into an agreement with the North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission.
The commissioners agreed to participate in a regional transportation planning and asset management project for data utilization and sharing activities.
According to Kristin Hullihen, this will serve as a Web-based asset management and will be a planning tool for county and municipal officials.
She said the service may be opened up to the public in the future.
â€˘ The commissioners approved invoices in the amount of $290,051.38 for the period Nov. 10 through Nov. 23 inclusive.
â€˘ The commissioners approved pending invoices in the amount of $336,584.95.
â€˘ The commissioners approved the actual gross payroll in the amount of $196,969.27 for payment for the period Nov. 20 through Dec. 3 inclusive.
â€˘ The commissioners approved the tentative gross payroll in the amount of $198,000 for payment for the period Nov. 6 through Nov. 19 inclusive.
â€˘ The next regularly scheduled county commission meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13.