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No tax hike, no layoffs for Schuylkill County

Published December 20. 2012 05:04PM

The fiscal team of the Schuylkill County Commissioners was able to accomplish the tough assignment to meet the demands of the board for no increase in property taxes and no layoffs in next year's budget and they came up with a budget meeting those demands. The budget was adopted by the county commissioners at their work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The real estate millage stays at 11.98 mills to include 11.42 mills for the 2013 general fund (114.2 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation) and .56 of a mill for funded debt account, (5.6 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation) and per capita tax at $5 for each adult.

The 2013 Schuylkill County budget calls for total expenditures for the General Fund at $47,935,397 with anticipated revenues at $45,635,792, a shortfall of $2,299,705. To balance the budget the monies will be transferred from the county's Unassigned General Fund Balance budget, formerly known as the reserve budget. The name was changed last year by Government Accounting Standard Board under Act 54 to establish an accounting standard for local governments to follow in order to stabilize their operation during these trying times. The county at the beginning of the year had $14 million in this fund but has earmarked $4 million for Rest Haven Home needs and $8 million for other needs which may arise, such as an unforeseen disaster.

The overall anticipated expenditures of all funds total $132,745,527 but the revenues $150,825,260 but the differences are made up for the accounts other than the general fund from rollovers from this year. This year's budget is expected to finish in a deficit of around $500,000 but could break even depending on bills to be paid for December and January. Budgets approved for various key departments were as follows:

Funded Debt - Authorized was granted for expenditures of $1,417,255 for Debt Service with the projected revenues in the same amount.

Rest Haven Home Account - Authorized expenditures for nursing home operations in amount of $12,206,627 with the projected operating revenues in the same amount.

9-1-1 Communications Account - Authorized expenditures of $6,379,054 to be offset by projected revenues of $4,620,352.

Capital Project Accounts - Authorized expenditures of $13,625,243 to be offset by new revenues in amount of $2,192,249.

Workers' Compensation Fund - Authorized a limit of expenditures at $515,066 to be offset by projected revenues of $765,950.

Conduit Accounts (including Community Development Block Grant, DUI, Schuylkill Transportation Authority, Housing Authority, Economic Opportunity Council) - Authorized establishment of parameters at an aggregate expenditure limit at $28,950,448 with revenue offsets at $27,469,529.

County Courts - Authorize expenditure of $1,842,061 with revenue of $401,914, offset from general fund.

Adult Probation Department - Authorize expenditure of $1,884,334 with revenue of $934,709 offset from general fund.

Juvenile Probation Department - Authorize expenditure of $1,103, 889 with revenue of $344,081 offset from general account.

County Prison - Authorize expenditure of $4,954,187 with revenue of $1,322,401 offset from general fund.

Special Revenue Accounts - Authorized expenditures of $39,796,170 with revenue offsets from prior year funds and new revenues totaling $38,538,373 as follows:

Liquid Fuels, expenditures, $2,160,278, revenues, $703,000; Demolition, expenditures, $248,000, revenues, $345,750; Farmland Preservation, expenditures, $45,054, revenues, $45,054; Human Services Complex, expenditures, $241,575, revenues, $241,5875; Other Agency Funds, expenditures, $3,025,103, revenues, $2,985,197; Office of Senior Services, expenditures, $6,576,232, revenues, $6,576,232; Drug and Alcohol, expenditures, $2,044,596, revenues, $2,044,596; Mental Health, expenditures, $6,598,300, revenues, $6,598,300; Children and Youth, expenditures, $16,535,154, revenues, $16,535,154 and Domestic Relations, expenditures, $2,221,878, revenues, $2,363,015.

Adoption of the budget was by a unanimous vote by Commissioners Frank Staudenmeier, chairman, and George Halcovage and Gary Hess.

Paul Buber, financial analyst, was the architect of the budget. Other members of the financial team are Paul Strake, assistant county administrator and Mark Scarbinsky, county administrator.

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