No Tax Increase in Clearfield County Budget

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners have given residents reprieve, deciding not to raise real estate taxes when unanimously finalizing the county’s 2012 budget at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The commissioners lowered real estate taxes by 2.5 mills, or 12 percent, from 21 mills to 18.5 mills last year, according to previous GantDaily reports. Real estate taxes will remain at 18.5 mills for the upcoming year’s budget.

Commissioner Chairperson Joan Robinson-McMillen announced that one change had been made since the presentation of the tentative budget. She said they’d been advised by District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. that he’d received a 3 percent raise in his salary, which is set by the state, to approximately $168,351.

In its Dec. 6 presented budget, the county had anticipated revenues of $19,968,329 and expenditures of $20,305,729, a deficit of $337,400 in its general fund. However, the county had realized a surplus of more than $300,000 in its liquid fuels fund this past year, making it a “flat budget,” Robinson-McMillen said at that meeting.

She said general fund revenues had risen from last year’s $18,211,888, while expenditures had declined from $21,181,843 a year ago. She noted that last year, the county was preparing for a $2.9 million deficit.

According to her, the county has made cuts where possible without sacrificing its services, and in some instances, they have added employee positions. For example, one full-time and three part-time corrections officer positions have been created at the Clearfield County Jail, which she said eased employee scheduling there.

In the 2011 budget, the county had 278 full- and part-time employees. The county currently has 276 positions in the upcoming year’s budget, according to correspondence received by Commissioner Mark B. McCracken after the Dec. 6 meeting via e-mail.

In addition, Robinson-McMillen had pointed out the county experienced what she described as a “huge savings” in its utilities. Further, she said it had saved $30,000 in utilities at the Clearfield County Administrative Offices versus what they had been paying out for the Multi-Service Center, according to a previous GantDaily report.

McCracken thanked other elected officials and appointed department heads for complying throughout the budget process. “They understand the tough economic times and the state and federal budget problems and know we’re not expecting any extra money,” he said.

Echoing the previous thoughts of the board, Commissioner John A. Sobel said the county didn’t cut services, and most importantly, it didn’t burden the taxpayers with what they couldn’t afford.

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