County Council gives second OK to $31 million budget

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By Chris Sardelli

Lancaster County Council unanimously approved second reading of the county’s 2009-10 budget on Monday night.

County Administrator Steve Willis said the proposed budget has not changed since first reading. Willis calls this a “continuation budget” because it will remain fairly static with the previous year’s budget. This means there will be no pay raises, but also no furloughs or layoffs.

Last week, Willis presented council with several options for cuts that could be made, if the budget needs adjusting.

Council’s finance committee has reviewed the possible cuts, though Willis said they are not yet included in the budget.

A bill now being considered in the state Legislature could affect the local budget as it could change the tax base in Lancaster County. The bill could affect property tax caps in the state.

But Willis hopes the county will have enough growth to hold the budget steady.

“These cuts are only recommended if the growth in tax value does not cover the current shortfall,” Willis said. “A lot of that depends upon how much, if any, the state Legislature tinkers with the tax laws this last week of the session. If they leave them alone, I anticipate we will just about break even and not have to make any cuts at all.”

If any changes are required during third and final reading of the budget, Willis said council may delay the vote so affected agencies could have an opportunity to talk with council.

The current budget is just over $31 million, with a projected deficit of almost $350,000.

Willis said increased insurance costs and funding that must now be provided for post-employment benefits are to blame for the budget deficit.

A public hearing on the budget is set for June 1. The new budget must be balanced by June 30.


Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416