2012-07-26 / Local & State

Commissioners “Whittling Away” At Budget Shortfall

New security guards hired
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The Fulton County commissioners attended to a busy schedule Tuesday, sitting down with several department heads who provided updates on the state of the county budget, grant opportunities and the upcoming fall presidential election.

Treasurer Monica Seville and Tim Stanton, business manager, met with the commissioners Tuesday morning to review the county’s budget and cash flow. Stanton indicated everything is tracking as it should be, and was happy to report that with the new projections the county’s shortfall for 2012 has been reduced to $136,038. The deficit at the beginning of the year was estimated at $266,223.

“We’re whittling away at it,” said Stanton, who noted prisoner costs for the year are lower than anticipated. In fact, the month of June posted the lowest prisoner numbers in the last three years. In fact, this week started out with only 10 individuals requiring incarceration.

Stanton added that $325,000 was initially budgeted in order to keep the county’s retirement plan solvent. It is possible that only around $295,000 may be needed.

Stanton was given permission by the commissioners to file the necessary paperwork to switch electrical suppliers. The county currently receives services through West Penn but is interested in switching over to First Energy Solutions, which is willing to lock in a rate of 4.93 cents per kilowatt over an 18-month period .

Stanton reported there have been big fluctuations in cost to the county, but West Penn’s cost has never dipped below 5 cents per kilowatt. A new rate with First Energy Solutions could potentially save the county $4,700 annually. Both West Penn and First Energy Solutions are subsidiaries of First Energy.

“It’s not huge savings, but some savings,” said Stanton.

The group also discussed the leaks in the courthouse roof, how they will determine where the leaks are originating and how to fix them without interfering with the court schedule.

Stanton and Seville stayed with the commissioners to hear a presentation on the county’s retirement fund as presented by Jeff Davidek of C.S. McKee Investment Managers. Davidek noted domestic equity was down as the county’s portfolio is heavily weighted with areas related to healthcare, information and technology. He said he expects that same area to out-perform in the next quarter. The group also discussed the gold and silver market as well improvements in home prices on a national level.

Michael Shade was hired as a temporary, part-time security guard, while Jeremy Hose got a nod of approval to serve as a permanent, part-time security guard. Both individuals were then approved to receive an hourly salary of $10.39.

Sheriff Keith Stains and Chief Probation Officer Dan Miller appeared before the commissioners to request a purchase of bulletproof vests in an amount not to exceed $3,410. The commissioners signed off on the request, and also heard from Stains that chief clerk Dan Swain had submitted a grant request through the Federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership. If approved 50 percent of the purchase would be covered.

A change order for a deduction totalling $50,375 was approved with East Coast Contracting Inc., general contractor in the jailhouse renovation project.

A contract was awarded to Hess Excavating in the amount of $18,250 for the demolition of the old probation office.

In addition, two Community Development Block Grant agreements were penned with Belfast Township in connection with the sewer system and water supply projects. A third CDBG agreement was signed with Todd Township for the upgrades at the Knobsville sewer system.

A notice of intent to award the handicapped accessibility upgrades project to Gelvin & Son LLC of Hustontown was signed by the commissioners. The ramp work outside the former domestic relations office will be performed in connection with the company’s bid totalling $12,850.

Chief clerk Swain and special projects coordinator Karen Hann reported the voter registration office is beginning to see increased activity in advance of the fall presidential election. As a result, the commissioners agreed Hann could work additional hours as necessary to complete the election-related work.

In meeting with EMA/911 Director Ruth Strait, the commissioners accepted a proposal in the amount of $15,167 from Archonix Public Safety Software to upgrade and maintain the county’s dispatch software.

Provider contracts were accepted with Shippenville Project Point of Light Inc. and The Children’s Aid Society of Franklin to provide services as necessary for the Services of Children.

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