2018-08-09 / Local & State

Sen. Eichelberger Bids Farewell

At last townhall meeting
By Cassidy Pittman

Sen. John Eichelberger arrived at the Fulton Theatre last Thursday night to a crowd of five to hear and address the concerns of the public. In addition, he also issued a warm goodbye to the county itself, as it was his last townhall meeting for the county. Earlier this year, Sen. Eichelberger revealed that he would not be seeking re-election to his office.

Eichelberger announced the state’s budget was completed on schedule and was the first budget to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. The budget is expected to increase by $700 million dollars. According to him, the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Development were the ‘big winners’ of the budget.

During the question portion of the evening, one citizen asked about increased pricing on milk, and why it was cheaper to buy a gallon of milk in Maryland than it was in Pennsylvania. Eichelberger responded that figuring out the cost of liquid milk per gallon was one of the most complicated formulas in the world. He further explained that companies pay a premium on fluid milk, and that it is also tied to global issues.

Another citizen requested an update on school taxes, but Eichelberger replied that there was none. In previous years, the funding formula was so that every school received the same amount of funding or a larger amount of funding each year, but never less. A new formula, which was created two years ago, will better determine how much funding a school will receive. The formula does not allocate a specific dollar amount to each school district. Instead, it determines each district’s share of the amount of funding available to distribute from the state. To not affect schools abruptly, all new money going into schools will be based on the new formula, and all the money preceding that will stay with the old formula from 1992.

“What’s happening in rural Pennsylvania, though, is that they’re getting fewer kids, but they’re still receiving the same amount of funding,” Eichelberger explained. “So, with the new formula most western Pennsylvania schools will lose money, but they will do so gradually.”

At the end of the meeting Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake secretary Dayton Tweedy thanked Eichelberger on behalf of the nonprofit organization for all the work he did to get Meadow Grounds Lake filled again. If everything goes accordingly, the lake is scheduled to be filled and ready for visitors by 2020.

Toward the end of the meeting, Eichelberger spoke briefly about a new bill he’s working on that could potentially assist children in foster care pay for college.

Eichelberger closed the meeting by expressing his appreciation for how resourceful Fulton County has been during his time in office, citing the work done on the Fulton County Medical Center and the refilling of Meadow Grounds Lake.

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