County Approves Tentative Budget without Tax Increase
CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County’s tentative budget proposal for 2013 keeps property taxes at 18.5 mills, reported Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. The county hasn’t raised property taxes since 2006.
The general fund budget anticipates total revenues and expenditures in the amount of $21,101,651. The county currently has more than $5 million in its general fund balance, which it didn’t have to use to balance the upcoming-year’s budget.
“This year, it is a zero budget. This budget does balance. It balances to the penny,” said Robinson-McMillen.
According to her, the budget allows for the county’s contracts. She said its contracts have all been settled with the exception of one with the Clearfield County Jail.
“I believe this is a fair budget. It doesn’t make too many cuts and allows for some increases,” said Robinson-McMillen.
She said that Children, Youth and Family Services posed the greatest challenge for the county. In 2012, the county allocated $6,077,538 to its CYFS. In the upcoming-year, the county anticipates allocating $6,996,331 to CYFS, which is an increase of $918,793.
“When you’re trying to find [$918,793] and not trying to increase someone’s taxes, it does become a challenge. And, we did that. I’m pleased to present this budget to the residents of Clearfield County,” said Robinson-McMillen.
When asked after the meeting, she said the county had received $1.145 million from the state’s Public Utility Commission for the Marcellus Shale impact fee. The county has allocated $300,000 to Clearfield County Emergency Management; $260,000 to CYFS/Safety; $100,000 to courts/safety and $85,000 to Airport/GIS.
She said the commissioners have placed slightly more than $400,000 from its impact fee allocation into a contingency fund. This funding will be available to all Clearfield County municipalities and awarded competitively at the commissioners’ discretion. For example, she said one use could be for the repair of deficient bridges.
Click here to view the tentative 2013 Clearfield County budget.
In addition, the commissioners approved modifications to its health insurance coverage to include all elected officials, appointed non-union employees and solicitors employed by Clearfield County Government. Those modifications are as follows:
- Elected officials and appointed non-union employees, including solicitor positions, elected or hired on or after Jan. 1, 2013, will be responsible to contribute 20 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums during the first year of receiving the benefit. They will be responsible for 10 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums during the second year of receiving the benefit and 5 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums during the third year of receiving the benefit.
The county will begin paying 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums beginning with the fourth year of receiving the benefit subject to contribution requirements included in the next bullet point. All such contributions will be made by pro-rata monthly payroll deductions.
- Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, all elected officials, appointed non-union employees and solicitors, regardless of date of election or hire, will contribute, on a compounded basis, 25 percent of all annual increases in the cost of health insurance claims above the 2012 Three-year Average Actual Cost Rate.
For purposes of establishing the 2012 benchmark rate and the rates for future years, the parties will utilize the 2012 Three-year Average Actual Cost Rate as follows: Single, $773.59; Two Party, $1,315.11; and Family, $1,856.62. The 2013 Three-year Average Actual Cost Rate is as follows: Single, $796.42; Two Party, $1,353.91; and Family, $1,911.40.
This will calculate into a monthly contribution rate for 2013 as follows: Single, $796.42 -$773.59 = $22.83 * .25 = $5.71; Two Party, $1,353.91 – $1,315.11 = $38.80 * .25 = $9.70; and Family, $1,911.40 – $$1,856.62 = $56.78 * .25 = $13.70. All such contributions will be made by pro-rata monthly payroll deductions.
- The current healthcare plan design will be changed to include a $15 co-payment for primary care physician office visits and a $25 co-payment for all other non-primary care physician office visits. Prescription drug co-payments are $15/$30/$45 with a mail-order option and a limit of 12 spinal manipulations per year.
- In the event an elected official’s or appointed non-union employee’s or solicitor’s family status changes that would result in a reduction of the cost that the county pays for health insurance premiums, they should immediately notify the county of the changes.