By Keith Gushard
While some adjustments have been made to Crawford County’s proposed 2014 budget, county property owners still are not facing an increase in the county’s real estate property tax rate for next year.
At Tuesday’s county commissioner work session, Jody Marley, the county’s finance director, reiterated a no-tax increase budget is proposed for 2014. Commissioners are scheduled to act on the 2014 budget at their meeting Thursday morning.
The proposed budget maintains the county’s real estate tax rate at 18.25 mills and an additional 0.6 mills for the county library system. For a property with a median assessed value of $24,000, the county real estate taxes will remain at $452.40 for 2014.
The county will use more of its fund balance than initially proposed in order to balance the new budget. The county will use $547,586 of its fund balance to balance the general fund budget for 2014 — up $28,178 from the $519,408 when the budget was given preliminary approval last month.
“We had to fund up the QLC (Quality Living Center) by $80,000,” Marley said of the 94-bed personal care home in Saegertown. Marley said the home was facing an $80,000 operating deficit for 2014.
A personal care home houses people who cannot function independently but do not need nursing care on a daily basis. Personal care homes offer assistance with medication, personal hygiene, nutrition, recreation, laundry and other tasks.
Another reason more fund balance was needed to balance the 2014 budget was a doubling of the county’s fee to Pennsylvania to pay unemployment compensation claims from $26,000 to $51,000, Marley said.
To offset the increases for the QLC and the state fee, Marley told commissioners she had reduced the county’s “rainy day” fund for unexpected expenses by $20,000 from $120,000 to $100,000 and then adjusted projected county health care costs by the remainder needed.
If given final approval by county commissioners Thursday, copies of the approved 2014 budget will be available for public inspection in Meadville at both the commissioners’ office at the Crawford County Courthouse, 903 Diamond Park, and the Meadville Public Library, 868 N. Main St., Meadville. A copy also will be available at Benson Memorial Library, 213 N. Franklin St., Titusville.
Copies of the preliminary 2014 budget have been on display at those locations.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.