The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 27, 2013

Penny-pinching pays off at budget time for Montour County

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

— DANVILLE — Skimping and saving the past six years has paid off for Montour County, which will be able to tackle some needed capital projects.

The projects are part of the tentative 2014 general fund budget, with expenditures of $7,622,339, the county commissioners approved Tuesday night.

The general fund budget, with revenues of $7,624,969, contains no tax increase.

The 2014 general fund is 2.35 percent higher than the 2013 spending plan.

Real estate taxes will remain at 3.349 mills and the per capita rate will stay at $5.

The budget includes a carryover of $250,000 and provides for a 3 percent cost-of -living raise for employees. Workers received no pay increase this year, according to the commissioners.

The $205,200 in capital expenses includes $100,000 for improving a courthouse parking lot, the purchase of two sheriff’s office vehicles at $34,000 each, a pickup truck for the maintenance department, estimated at $25,000, refurbishing the hallway of the courthouse, estimated at $8,000, replacing windows at the jail at an expense of $8,448 and buying three computers for $3,750.

The commissioners also approved the liquid fuels budget, with expenditures of $221,885 and revenues of $321,170, and the transit budget, with expenditures of $562,800 and revenues of $606,461.

“Pinching of pennies to try to do the best we can do has come to fruition. We can actually buy vehicles we desperately need and do repairs we desperately need and don’t have to raise taxes,” Commissioner Jerry Ward said.

“In the six years we have been here, I have never experienced this and it feels good to present the budget to the public,” he said.

“We can now do required maintenance and infrastructure repairs without feeling guilty about spending the money,” Ward said.

Commissioners Vice Chairman Jack Gerst commended the commissioners’ staff for preparing the budget. “It would be very nice if the rest of the taxing bodies in the county would try not to raise taxes,” he said.

Commissioners Chairman Trevor Finn said the staff prepared the budget in record time. Commissioners plan to adopt the budget Dec. 17.

“For six years, this board has been skimping and county departments have been skimping. We can finally do some capital improvements. One that will add a lot of pride to the county is refinishing the hallway” of the courthouse, Finn said.

He thanked all county employees for “the fine job they have done.”

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.