Funding cuts present big challenge
Carbon County officials discussed a challenge that they will face as 2011 unfolds.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board discussed funding cuts on state and federal levels that will create obstacles for the county to operate in the black.
Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, pointed out that there are numerous reductions in funding in the weekly agenda, including losing thousands of dollars in human services funding.
He said that the human services fund helps provide money for various agencies, including the office of aging and children and youth services.
"We're starting to see reductions in things that are the most vulnerable in our county," he said, noting that Pennsylvania is facing a $5 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year and that means more funding cuts for programs and education on county levels.
"This is just a preview of what we're facing in the state's financial problems."
O'Gurek said that times are going to get difficult after state Rep. Keith McCall leaves office. McCall had 28 years in office and had enough seniority to be able to secure millions of dollars for the county.
He said he looks forward to working with Doyle Heffley after he takes office, but sees that there will be challenges that the new representative will face over the next two years.
O'Gurek also said the county is happy with the 2011 budget and is funding programs, such as Solid Waste, which have lost state funding.
Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein also weighed in on the financial status and McCall leaving office.
Getz said it will be a really big loss for the people of Carbon when McCall leaves and said the county will need to start looking at ways it can save money.
He added that he does not want to see any programs cut and will work to keep all programs.
Nothstein agreed that the financial loss is going to hurt the county, but said they will need to work harder to make sure everything balances out.
In related matters, Nothstein said that he was disappointed that the house bill that would have given counties the power to eliminate jury commissioners was vetoed by the governor because of an unrelated issue that was added to the bill at a later time.
He said that he plans to send letters to state legislators to again try to pass a bill that will eliminate jury commissioners as a way for counties to cut expenses.