December 22, 2016

Commissioners provide details on Tuesday's budget adoption

At a meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners today, December 20, 2017, many of the issues confronting this Board for the past year seemed to be at last buttoned up and tied down as the new county budget year 2017 is positioned to begin. And it was with a most agonizing spirit that the Commissioners for the first time in over eight years of budgeting had to concede to rising health care and other inflationary costs and vote a quarter mill general fund tax increase.

Issues not to be lost in the routine of this 2017 budget cycle this day include:

1.        The Union County Day Treatment Center no longer will exist as an operation only serving Union County’s citizens working through issues with the county justice system. Program offices will be renamed in the New Year as the complex on Hafer Road begins serving a wider role and population. Management of the center will be taken over by the long-running Union-Snyder Community Action Agency which has historically delivered many social services in the two county area. Perhaps the Union County Community Action Agency Director Sue Auman put it best when she said, “We will be helping re-focus, re-purpose, re-brand and establish the building as a place for all community partners to offer services. We’ll be helping more people help themselves by offering our programs and services alongside our partner agencies at the co-located service site.”

2.       Union County today officially signed off on ordinance creating a new Joinder Board for Union and Snyder Counties to operate a joint 9-1-1 communications operation center.  Staff will be merged in the coming months under consolidated management with operations based at the existing Snyder County call center west of Selinsgrove. It is anticipated that major savings will result in the coming years as changing technology again requires reinvestment in the latest telecommunications equipment. Signals from the state level have indicated a possible large financial investment in this regional approach to emergency call dispatch.

3.       Union County for the first time in 16 years will begin directly subsidizing the county’s recycling program at an amount of $32,000. 

4.       Union County Commissioners will support financially CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children with an appropriation of $6,000 which is partially reimbursable by the state’s Children & Youth Services dollars.

5.       Union County will continue funding at previous established levels for Union County’s Agricultural Easement Program, the Union-Snyder Agency on Aging, the Union County Veterans’ Parade, and the Penn Valley Airport Authority.

6.   The 2017 county budget includes a one percent cost of living adjustment for all county employees and additional step/merit increases as warranted and budgeted. This improved compensation package allows the county to attract excellent employees that help maintain the high standard of living in Union County.

7.      A new part-time position of county detective will be added to the District Attorney’s office budget. 

8.       Union County Commissioners will tackle several capital projects in the budget year 2017. These include: continued work on air quality management at the 1855 Courthouse and a new roof on the western half of the Union County Government Center on 15th Street. New windows on the Mifflinburg County Government Center were delayed as Commissioners explore the changing use and costs of this building. These projects are funded through the County’s capital projects reserve and will be reevaluated before starting each project.

9.   It should be noted that there are operations that do not fall within the confines of the annual county general fund budget cycle. One good example of this includes continuing work on Union County’s 26 bridges throughout the county with 2017 seeing the beginning of the replacement of the Glen Iron Bridge over Penns Creek in Hartley Township. Numerous other grant and funding streams do not find their way into the general county budget document as well. 

The Union County Commissioners would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and are looking forward to a Wonderful New Year.