Franklin County (Pa.) panel takes look at budget

Leaders said they plan to whittle down an anticipated $6.2 million deficit to less than half of that

November 10, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Additional sheriff's deputies, new human services caseworkers, metal detectors, an additional drug task force detective and parking lot repaving at several locations are potential expenditures next year for the Franklin County, Pa., government.

The Franklin County Commissioners took a first look at their 2012 budget on Thursday. Included were all requests from departments before the county administrator and commissioners start to evaluate which ones will be approved.

The proposed budget also includes 3 percent salary increases for all employees, officials said.

County leaders said they plan to whittle down an anticipated $6.2 million deficit to less than half of that.

"We don't anticipate this being the final budget," County Administrator John Hart said.

Because the county is expecting to end 2011 about $2.8 million in the black, Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski said that surplus should be applied to 2012 spending. He said the anticipated deficit should be trimmed to $2.8 million.

"I don't think our taxpayers have the capacity for a tax increase," Ziobrowski said.

"There are a lot of people on fixed incomes, a lot of people still out of work," said David Keller, chairman of the commissioners.

County officials are anticipating receiving about $101 million in general fund revenue, mostly from taxes and fees for services, including those at the county-operated nursing home.

In requesting new hires, department managers asked for 29 full-time and 13 part-time employees, 21 of whom would be paid from general fund revenue.

That general fund also would pay for up to $7.2 million in capital projects ranging from bridge repairs to equipment purchases. It includes $1.8 million for renovations and expansion of the courthouse campus.

The three additional sheriff's deputies, four security guards, metal detectors, detection wands and cameras are being requested because of the expansion, Hart said.

"Where there are areas that can be put off, delayed or cut, you need to do that," Commissioner Bob Thomas said.

The commissioners plan to approve a preliminary budget Nov. 22 and a final one in late December.

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