Centre adopts budget with no tax increase

BELLEFONTE — Centre will see county property taxes remain the same for the eighth year in a row.

The 2018 county budget totals approximately $75.6 million, which includes approximately $73.9 million for the operating budget and approximately $1.7 million for the county’s capital reserve. Total revenues come to approximately $73.1 million.

County millage will hold steady at 7.84 mills, which consists of general millage at 6.65 mills and debt millage at 1.19 mills.

“For the next year, we rely on this really as the blueprints for success of our operation,” said Commissioner Steve Dershem at the Monday, Dec. 19 meeting of the county commissioners.

According to Tom Martin, county director of financial management, there was only a $23,500 change from the proposed budget that was adopted at the commissioners.

For the new year, general and special revenue funds come to a total of approximately $64.6 million, which represents a 1.7 percent increase from the 2017 budget. Expenditures will include approximately $65.5 million in general and special revenue funds, which is up 1.7 percent from 2017.

One new project included in the new budget is the county’s drug court program, which will be primarily funded through a $400,000 Bureau of Justice Assistance grant. The grant is for three years and is supported by a county match of $133,493.

The county correctional facility will see a camera system upgrade of approximately $500,000, and the courthouse will see renovations as well in the new year. There will also be a public safety training site in the works. All of these projects will be covered by capital funds, Martin explained.

In the new year, there will also be continued funding for the Centre County HOPE (Heroin and Opioid and Prevention Education) initiative. Approximately $10,000 will be set aside for HOPE in the budget.

Other budget highlights include:

r A 2.0 percent salary increase for county employees.

r Total salary expenditures will see a 0.4 percent increase from the 2017 budget.

r Total compensation expenditures, which includes salaries and benefits, will see a 3.7 percent increase from the 2017 budget.

r A reduction of $903,630 in 2018 debt service principal and interest payments. This is due to 2017 bond refinancing.

The detailed 2018 budget can be reviewed online at https://centrecountypa.gov/ and inside the Willowbank Building, located at 420 Holmes St. in Bellefonte.

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