ELK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RELEASE 2023 BUDGET PROPOSAL WITH NO TAX INCREASE

Category: Uncategorised Published: Monday, 05 December 2022

NOTICE:

Ridgway, PA: On December 1, 2022, the Elk County Board of Commissioners presented the proposed County of Elk, Pennsylvania 2023 county operational budget in the amount of $14,162,693.  The 2023 budget will again not include any increases in the taxable millage currently assessed. In addition, the county will continue full operational capacity within all departments and vital services.

 While local economic performance was strong for 2022, price spikes and interrupted supply chains created increased wage pressures and higher costs for many consumer goods.  Good fiscal stewardship within the county has helped to manage these demands, but flat or falling tax revenue could create a future imbalance that will need to be addressed.

 The Elk County Prison continues to be the county’s largest expenditure, with fixed costs that are largely beyond the county’s control. It is a 24 hour a day operation with a large staff required to provide mandated medical care, food service, maintenance and security, as well as the supervision of inmates. There are no federal or state reimbursements available to share these costs.

 Similarly other departments that deal with court related matters, such as the Sheriff‘s Office or Parole and Probation and/or those addressing family or social issues such as Children and Youth or Domestic Relations continue to increase expenses that are assumed by the taxpayer. This is due to ever-rising numbers of individuals involved in the court/judicial systems, in addition to state/federal requirements increasing while their accompanying reimbursements, if any, are decreased.

 In response to this, the President Judge, with the cooperation of the Boards of Commissioners of Elk and Cameron Counties, have completed a plan to consolidate their Domestic Relations Offices into one combined operation under the 59th Judicial District beginning January 1, 2023..  This will help reduce costs and streamline efficiencies while avoiding any decrease in service to the public.

 While the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan, continues to provide an opportunity to consider medium or long range capital expenses, the county has been careful to avoid investments that may create increased legacy costs, thus hampering future balanced budget efforts.  Nonetheless these federal funds have given the county the resources to make targeted upgrades without the need to rely on general fund revenue.

 Another change for 2023 is to have all county departments and personnel scrutinize budget requests, and only include line item appropriations based on actual expenditures and not just carry over previous year’s budget requests.  A goal of reducing costs by 7% across departments was established, and county employees are to be recognized for their work to meet this goal.

 In keeping with past practice, the Elk County Commissioners continue to discretionally apply Marcellus Shale Gas (Act 13) funding to necessary capital improvement projects at county facilities and property; for emergency preparedness and public safety; for environmental programs; and reconstruction of public infrastructure projects in 2022 without the need to rely on tax payer dollars. In addition, a portion of Act 13 funds will be available to Elk County municipalities, non-profit organizations, volunteer fire departments and other first responders through a twice-yearly grant program.

 While the county commissioners continue to stay vigilant to the ever changing demands on local government, there is always an element of uncertainty that will be difficult to predict. A lingering pandemic, economic factors, state and federal policy changes, and other unforeseen events can undermine even the best projected budget. What remains to be our guiding principal, however, is that every decision made is always done with the taxpayer in mind. To that end, in spite of shrinking revenues and increasing costs, the Commissioners consistently seek ways of operating in a fiscally responsible way without sacrificing the delivery of services or operations to the county residents.

 The Elk County Board of Commissioners would like to acknowledge and thank our elected officials, department heads and staff who have cooperated in the budget preparation effort as well as their professional every day service. Also, special recognition is given the Chief Clerk, the Fiscal Office, the Elk County Treasurer and others who worked tirelessly to compile the numbers for this year’s budget.

The 2023 Elk County Budget will be on display in the Commissioner’s Office for public inspection until 9:00am, December 27th, 2022. The budget may also be viewed online by clicking here.

 

UPCOMING COMMISSIONER MEETINGS*

December 20, 2022 Commissioner meeting scheduled for 10am is cancelled and rescheduled for 6:00pm.

December 20, 2022 6:00pm – Regular Commissioner meeting, including a Resolution to approve salaries for all Elected Officials for terms 2024-2027.

December 27, 2022 10:00am – Special Commissioner Meeting to approve 2023 Elk County Budget

January 3, 2023 10:00AM – Commissioner meeting, Commissioner Reorganizational meeting, followed by a Salary Board meeting, and Annual Retirement Board meeting

*All meetings held in the Courthouse Annex building Conference Room#2.

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ELK COUNTY

Elk County Courthouse
250 Main Street
P.O. Box 448
Ridgway, PA 15853

Elk County Courthouse Annex
300 Center Street
P.O. Box 448
Ridgway, PA 15853