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Centre County passes amended 2020 budget

BELLEFONTE — In Centre County, the 2020 budget has been amended — and passed unanimously.

On Tuesday, the Centre County Board of Commissioners discussed it one last time before passing it. The amended budget came in at $84,523,185 of which $82,313,948 is for the operating budget and $2,209,237 is for capital reserve. That’s about $200,000 higher than the original budget.

County administrator Margaret Gray explained why the budget was re-opened.

“In accordance with the county code, the county re-opened the 2020 budget at the beginning of the calendar year. We have completed our public inspection period and completed the public inspection period with no changes. Today, we present the amended county budget,” Gray said.

Chair of the board of commissioners, Michael Pipe, said that while the budget was available for public inspection, the county received no comments about it.

Commissioner Mark Higgins thanked all those who were involved with putting together the budget.

“We want to thank county staff and all the county suppliers for all their hard work on this. We started way back in August,” Higgins said.

The commissioners then adopted Resolution No. 5 of 2020, which enacted a tax levy rate as follows: Total millage of 7.84 mills on real estate assessed valuation at the rate of taxation of $0.78 on each $100 of assessed valuation of taxable property. For the 10th consecutive year, there will be no tax increase.

Higgins said that puts Centre County in rarefied air.

“I did a little study and that puts us in an elite group because there’s about a dozen of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties that did not increase property taxes,” Higgins said.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

— Approved a letter of agreement with The Meadows Psychiatric Center-Universal Community Behavioral Health to establish a system linkage for care coordination, referral, service ability and information exchange. There is no cost for the contract for the period of Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31. 2021.

— Approved a contract with CMT Laboratories, Inc., to provide testing services associated with the courthouse renovation project as required for building code compliance. The contract total is not to exceed $7,500 for the period of Feb. 18, 2020 through April 30, 2020.

— Agreed to execute documents required for the submittal of the formal application to accept the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding for the Titan Park Plant 1 and Plant 4 buildings. The grant award is in the amount of $2,500,000.

All of those items were moved to next week’s consent agenda. The commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

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