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Borough Council Concerned About Finances and Budget Planning

by on April 21, 2015 10:25 AM

We’re already one-fourth of the way through 2015, so the State College Borough is reviewing its finances to make sure everything is going according to plan. 

Dwight Miller, the borough’s manager of financial services, told the State College Borough Council that most of the borough’s funds are “right on track” with expectations for the first quarter of 2015.

So far this year, revenues for the borough’s general fund are up by about $62,000 when compared to the first quarter of 2014. Miller also said that general fund expenditures are down by $212,000 from the same period of last year.

Miller said the main reason that general fund expenditures are down by so much is because the 2015 budget didn’t fill three open positions in the State College Police Department, including two police officer positions and one record technician position.

Revenues are up and expenses are down in several smaller borough funds as well, Miller said.

The parking fund has taken in $36,000 more than it did during the same period of 2014 – and expenditures are even lower: $368,000 less than the first quarter of last year. The borough’s sanitary sewer fund is also in decent shape so far, with $54,000 of additional revenue and a decrease in expenses to the tune of $161,000.

But not all the news is quite so cheerful. Miller said the Centre Tax Agency may have taken $21,000 more than the first quarter of 2014, but the agency has also spent $36,000 more this year during the same time period. The borough’s refuse fund has brought in an extra $281,000 thanks to a state grant, but also had to spend over $156,000 for a new refuse truck.

Council member Evan Myers pressed Miller and the rest of the borough’s financial staff to provide financial updates more frequently. He said he would like to see the borough’s budget broken down into monthly reports on revenue and expenses, which he thinks would allow council to make more informed financial decisions.

“We are stewards of the public money, so when we spend it we know how and why, and so does the public,” Myers said.

Even though borough council only finished drafting this year’s budget a few short months ago, council member Sarah Klinetob said she thinks its time to start looking toward next year’s budget.

Most of the borough’s funds are in the green so far, but Klinetob said the more important figure to keep in mind is roughly $811,000 deficit built into the 2015 budget. She also reminded council that next year’s deficit is expected to be even larger – so she says the sooner council begins to thinks of ways to cut costs or raise revenues, the better.

In other news, council passed a resolution declaring the State College borough a “fair trade community.” Council president James Rosenberger said the borough supports efforts to raise consumer awareness about sustainable and humane business practices, and that the borough will purchase fair trade goods whenever possible.

Council also approved the closure of part of South Fraser Street from May 18 to May 22 to accommodate the erection of 227-foot-tall crane at the Fraser Centre construction site.

 



Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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