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County transportation, highway departments make budget requests

February 20, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

The Washington County Commissioners heard two budget presentations Tuesday.

Transportation Department Director Kevin Cerrone asked the commissioners to approve $2.4 million for the department in fiscal year 2009, a 2.82 percent increase over last fiscal year.

The transportation department budget funds the County Commuter's five programs, which include the fixed-route bus service, Paratransit program, Ride Assistance, the jobs shuttle and Hopewell Express.

Cerrone also asked the commissioners to approve three new positions - two office associates and a part-time mechanic.

He said the department needs the extra office workers to handle calls for the county's Paratransit program, which serves elderly and disabled riders.

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The mechanic is needed to keep up with the department's 21 vehicles, up from 14 when the program began in 1972, Cerrone said.

The transportation department now has two full-time mechanics.

Highway Department Director Ed Plank also made a budget request Tuesday. He presented a $9.48 million budget for fiscal year 2009, down 1.42 percent from last year.

Plank said the department is asking for "a few small vehicles" but has put off asking for new employees and larger equipment because of county-wide budget restraints and higher expected fuel costs.

However, Plank said county funding will have to increase in the future. The department now receives almost all of its money from state-distributed Highway User Revenues.

"If we are going to move forward with our department, we are going to have to get with the times," Plank said.

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