Politics & Government

Commissioners expect the best for budget discussions

Centre County commissioners said Tuesday that despite Harrisburg’s budget issues, the county remains in good shape.
Centre County commissioners said Tuesday that despite Harrisburg’s budget issues, the county remains in good shape. nmark@centredaily.com

County commissioners were confident Tuesday that Harrisburg lawmakers would have a budget completed in time, avoiding a future impasse.

Chairman Michael Pipe said, financially, the county is in good shape having received more than $20 million in tax revenue so far. Commissioners are, however, keeping an eye on the fourth-quarter Children and Youth Services rebalancing action.

Due to the Harrisburg-led rebalancing, Centre County has not yet received funding for the CYS for the quarter dating April-June 2015. To date, legislators have not indicated if that money will ever be reimbursed.

“The recent action was extremely critical for the biggest employer in the county — Penn State,” Vice Chairman Mark Higgins said. “We appreciate that.”

The budget stalemate had pushed the university to the point of possible layoffs to agricultural staff, including cuts to Penn State Extension across the state and 4-H programs. Penn State will see a 5 percent boost in its general support appropriation, from $214.1 million to $224.8 million.

In preparing for the next budget due in July, Pipe said he didn’t want to take the county too far down the path of taking precautions if there is a likelihood that negotiations will wrap in June. Having gone through the experience last year, he said, the commissioners are willing and able to take a closer look by May or June.

“You’ll remember we passed a resolution that we never want to experience what we experienced last year,” Pipe said. “My true hope is that we’re going to have a budget by July 1.”

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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