2020 budget to hold the line on taxes

Kodish: County spending plan to be displayed Nov. 14

LEWISTOWN — Final preparations are still being ironed out for the 2020 general fund budget for Mifflin County, which will be officially put on display Nov. 14.

Although final numbers have not yet been determined, the Mifflin County Commissioners announced on Thursday that the 2020 spending plan will not include an increase in taxes.

“We are currently completing final adjustments,” Commissioner Kevin Kodish said during the board’s business meeting. “However, I can tell you that there will be no tax increase for 2020. During the past three years, in 2018 the budget went down slightly, we held the line in 2019 and we will hold the line again in 2020.”

Kodish said the budget is set go on display Nov. 14 and will be available for public viewing at the courthouse until final adoption, which has been scheduled for Dec. 5.

In other business Thursday, two representatives of the Mid-Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross were on hand to give a brief overview of what the organization is about and to make a plea for citizens to volunteer for several positions that are available locally.

“We’re here to talk a little bit about the great work of the Red Cross,” Hope Roaten, executive director of the chapter noted. “The Red Cross’ most powerful mission is to prevent human suffering.”

Roaten said the Red Cross helps those in need in a number of ways, including coordination of blood donations, disaster response, financial assistance and follow-up services, supporting the nation’s military and providing life-saving training such as CPR and first aid.

With regard to blood drives, Roaten said that last year alone 1,500 units of blood were collected in Mifflin County.

“On average, for each unit of blood collected,” she added, “three individuals are helped. So that’s crucial.”

The local chapter responded to 13 disasters in the county last year, Roaten said.

“The majority of these situations are house fires,” she said. “They are the number one disaster we respond to.”

With regard to preparing for disasters, Roaten said the Red Cross recently completed its 2019 Preparedness Campaign where volunteers installed 165 free smoke alarms in households in Mifflin County.

“Homes equipped with fire alarms see a 50 percent better chance of survival in the event of a house fire,” she stated.

Also at Thursday’s meeting was Janel Gordner, the chapter’s recruitment specialist, who noted that 90 percent of those serving with the Red Cross are volunteers.

“We can’t survive without them,” she stressed.

Locally, Gordner said the Red Cross is looking for individuals interested in helping out during blood drives, becoming members of the disaster action team, helping out with armed forces services and engaging in outreach by informing the community of the services Red Cross offers. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities can contact Gordner directly at (570) 594-3217 or online at www.redcross/volunteers.

In other action Thursday, the commissioners:

¯ Approved budget revisions to federal fiscal year 2017 CDBG funding to reflect shifting of dollars to other projects after two Juniata Terrace road projects came in under budget.

¯ Approved a resolution approving the 2019 CDBG funding application with modest changes to funding of several projects slated for Derry Township.

¯ Approved an agreement to provide planning services to Derry Township for the year 2020 in the amount of $1,500.

¯ Approved a request for 2019 Liquid Fuels allocation to Bratton Township in the amount of $2,245.83.