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Hard cuts coming to Lycoming budget

WILLIAMSPORT — Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare announced Tuesday that he foresees some hard decisions with the 2021 budget that could include various spending cuts.

The final months of 2020 will have Lycoming County officials crunching numbers to come up with next year’s plan.

“It’s going to be a tough year,” Mussare said during the commissioners’ meeting.

COVID-19 has posed challenges for county operations and with questions over how much federal and state dollars will be available, it’s difficult to know what next year’s spending plan will look like, he noted.

Businesses struggling to get back on their feet in the midst of the pandemic only add to the problem.

“This is serious,” he said.

County department heads are being asked to submit plans to commissioners to help come up with devising next year’s spending plan.

Mussare told the Sun-Gazette he does not rule out cutting personnel to meet the budget.

“Personnel would be one of the options,” he said.

In other matters, commissioners approved a number of purchases from the county’s share of $10.2 million in COVID-19 funding.

The items, amounting to an estimated $1.2 million cover different departments, including office equipment, COVID-19 protection needs and computers. Among the more expensive purchases are recycling containers for the county landfill at a cost of $300,000 and digitalization of records from the Register & Recorder’s office for online use at $196,590.

Commissioners approved M&M Asphalt Corp. for paving at a cost of $322,253.

M&M, it was noted, submitted the lowest bid for the work at Lysock View, the Pre-Release Center and Executive Plaza.

Mussare noted that the paving work has been much needed for a number of years.

“We waited for the right time and price,” he said.

Commissioners approved an amendment to the Homeland Security agreement with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The amendment, which adds several additional counties to the agreement including Columbia and Montour, is part of an overall planning and organizing program to fight terrorism and other emerging emergencies.

Commissioners approved the purchase of a haul truck from Cleveland Brothers at $440,813 for use at the county landfill. The purchase through COSTARS, the state cooperative purchasing program, includes a trade-in of two county vehicles.

A change order was approved with Barton & Loguidice for the sewage main pump station at the landfill allowing for the pumping of leachate.

Commissioners approved the hiring of Eve E. Adrian for the newly created position of natural resources planner in the planning and community development department at an annual salary of $42,179.

Commissioners also approved the following personnel to fill vacant positions:

— James F. Kerschner, environmental technician, Resource Management Services, $18.08 per hour.

–Richard Walker, part-time tipstaff, courts, $10.08 per hour.

–Kathy A. Delaney, clerk for District Judge Jerry Lepley, $13.95 per hour.

–Jesse C. Combs, correctional officer, prison, $17.23 per hour.

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