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Centre County commissioners approve temporary funding

Commissioners Mark Higgins, left, Michael Pipe, and Steven Dershem, right. The Centre County Board of Commissioners held a meeting in Bellefonte January 5, 2016.
Commissioners Mark Higgins, left, Michael Pipe, and Steven Dershem, right. The Centre County Board of Commissioners held a meeting in Bellefonte January 5, 2016. nmark@centredaily.com

The newly formed Centre County Board of Commissioners kicked off the new year Tuesday by signing the final paperwork for a tax and revenue anticipation note that will help fund the county through the beginning of 2016.

The TRAN was initially approved by the former board of commissioners on Dec. 22 for a maximum principal amount not to exceed $10 million. The $10 million will fund the county through January and February, Financial Management Director Denise Elbell said, adding that a second TRAN could be taken out if there was still no state budget by that time.

Commissioners were required to make a draw of $50,001 upon signing the papers, Elbell said, which is required for the paperwork to be submitted.

Laura Kurtz, of Eckert Seamans Attorneys at Law, explained that in order for the note to be issued and for the firm to deliver a tax-exempt opinion, at least $50,000 needed to be drawn for it to be issued under the tax code to be filed with the IRS.

According to Elbell, the county still holds about $1.1 million in unrestricted funds and will need additional funds to meet a “large payable” next week. The county is currently owed about $8.5 million by the state.

The county is expecting about $5 million from the state in the near future, she said, based on information from the state. Should the county receive those funds, she said, an immediate draw down on the TRAN won’t be necessary.

In terms of providers and staff, Chairman Michael Pipe said, payments will be “essentially seamless.” Elbell verified payments will go out automatically to all parties as they always have.

Vice Chairman Mark Higgins thanked county employees for helping to make the funds last as long as possible by delaying payments for expenses and other items. Elbell referred to the sheriff’s office as an example, as deputies who are allowed a uniform allowance delayed submitting invoices for their purchases.

Pipe also said the new board reopened the budget during Monday’s organizational meeting and will be looking at every line item and department. In terms of changes, some positions have been added to the commissioners office that will have to be included in the budget.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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