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No tax increase proposed at county level

by on November 30, 2017 7:50 AM

BELLEFONTE — Centre County’s 2018 proposed budget does not include a tax increase, but it does have an $851,225 shortfall.

Commissioner Mark Higgins said that in recent years the county has projected a shortfall and has actually ended up with a surplus.

Revenues for the general and special funds are projected at $64,666,055, a 1.7 percent increase over 2017. Expenditures are projected at $65,517,280, a 2.2 percent increase.

Commissioner Chairman Michael Pipe commended the budget committee and stressed that months of work went into preparing the proposed budget.

“(The budget) continues our commitment to provide excellent services to the people of Centre County,” he said. “It allows us to have an on-time budget, which we pride ourselves in.”

Other highlights from the 2018 proposed budget are:

— General fund reserves maintained at 12.9 percent.

— Debt service reduced by $903,630 because of 2017 bond refinancing.

— Funding for the new drug court and HOPE initiative

The budget also provides funds for a public safety training site at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology in Spring Township.

Margaret Gray, county administrator, said $400,000 is encumbered for the project, but the county isn’t yet sure what the total project cost will be. The new training site is still in the planning stages, and Gray said it was a goal to get the project moving for 2018.

Though the budget includes funds for a 2 percent salary increase for employees, expenditures on personnel will be 3.7 percent lower compared to 2017. Tom Martin, director of financial services, said that was because of employee turnover.

A projected 40 percent of funds, or $29,208,086, will come from state and federal grants and payments in lieu of taxes. The second-highest category for revenues comes from real estate taxes, projected at 32 percent of funds. Departmental earnings are projected at 16 percent.

Human services are the largest category for expenditures at $24,342,473, or 32 percent. Corrections accounts for 18 percent of spending, judicial 13 percent and administration 11 percent. 

 

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