Juniata County Commissioners move toward ratification of budget

MIFFLINTOWN – The Juniata County Commissioners passed a tentative 2014 General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

Final ratification of the $8,847,648.07 budget will take place at the Dec. 31 commissioners meeting. The budget has no tax increase and is at least five percent less than the 2013 budget.

Tuesday’s vote was a 2-1 decision with commissioners Robert Reynolds and Jeff Zimmerman voting in favor, while commissioner Teresa O’Neal cast the dissenting vote.

O’Neal said there were certain portions of the budget she liked, as well as items she did not like.

O’Neal said she was particularly concerned with the “lack of oversight” throughout the year in dealing with budget issues. There were also several line items she felt had been short changed or completely ignored.

Zimmerman said the staff deserves a lot of credit for putting together the budget.

Reynolds echoed that sentiment and added that the budget is “fiscally sound.”

Earlier during the meeting, O’Neal attempted to table an item on the agenda for further discussion at a later time. The item in question was the proposed 2014 schedule for salary, retirement and commissioners board meetings.

O’Neal’s motion was struck down by Zimmerman and Reynolds. All three then discussed her concerns regarding the schedule, prior to approving it.

O’Neal was primarily concerned that on three of the scheduled dates for board meetings, she will be at conferences held by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and this would force her to make a decision as to which meeting to attend.

O’Neal asked if it would be possible for her to phone in to participate in a board meeting, to which Reynolds and Zimmerman said they do not object.

O’Neal also took issue with the removal of board meetings on election days in 2014.

Other items on the agenda during Tuesday’s meeting included the passage of a proclamation declaring December 2013 as “United Way Month.”

Marie Mulvihill, Executive Director of the United Way of Mifflin Juniata, said based on the most recent needs assessment the organization and its partnering agencies have focused on the three key areas – income, education and health.

The commissioners thanked Mulvihill, the United Way and its partnering agencies for all they do in the community to help people.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously:

Approved requests for liquid fuel funds for Fermanagh Township for $4,570.14.

Ratified the following Juniata County Hazardous Materials check: $50 to Fayette Fire Company Building Rental.

Ratify the following CDBG-IDIS checks as submitted by the Juniata County Planning Department. Darrow excavation $13,704.93 for communications tower.

Approved the reappointment of D. Richard Hackenberger to a four-year public director term on the Juniata County Conservation District Board of Directors.

Approved the reappointment of Jay Finkbiner to a four-year farmer director term on the Juniata County Conservation District Board of Directors.

Acknowledged the retirement of Ralph Germak from the position as Juniata County Sheriff Solicitor effective at the end of the day on Dec. 31.

Appointed Glenn C. Supplee to a four-year term on the Juniata County Planning Commission.

Approved official correspondence formally requesting that the Juniata County Conservation District administer the recycling portion of the Juniata County Solid Waste Plan.

Approved the hiring of Jennifer Hass as a Juniata County Domestic Relations caseworker.

Approved the hiring of Heather Heckert as a Juniata County Domestic Relations caseworker.

Appointed Bradley W. Kerstetter to serve as a voting member on the SEDA-Council of Governments Metropolitan Planning Organization for a four-year term.

Approved the Fiscal Year 2011 Citizen Corps Program Grant Agreement as submitted by Allen Weaver, Emergency Service Director.

Ratified checks Nos. 38885 through 38930 in the amount $36,222.49.

Approved checks Nos. 38931 through 38954 in the amount $87,051.90.