2018 Lycoming County budget proposal goes live Thursday

The 2018 proposed budget will be reviewed in depth at Thursday’s Lycoming County commissioners meeting, the commissioners said Tuesday.

The plan also will be available online at the county’s website that day and hard copies can be viewed in county offices as well as at the James V. Brown Library.

As of Monday, the proposal estimates revenues at $93 million and expenses at $102.8 million.

Major spending categories include public works, or construction and development projects intended for public use, estimated at $27.3 million, and public safety, which includes the county prison and probation services, estimated at $18.5 million.

The commissioners are not considering a tax increase at this time, but it hasn’t been ruled out completely, they said. They first are exploring other avenues of income.

Two public hearings have been held for the commissioners to discuss the budget proposal with community members, and a final hearing will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Jersey Shore Public Library. Changes will continue to be made to the proposal as public comments are heard.

Pending those changes, the commissioners are expected to act on the final budget at their regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 7.

In another matter, the commissioners will consider approving a professional service agreement Thursday with Kourt Security Partners, not to exceed $17,253, for keyless entry at Lysock View Complex.

The current access system is “failing,” said Ken George, director of maintenance for the county.

Changing access to Lysock would be the “start of the global system for the county,” George said.

He expects security systems countywide would be switched within about two years.

Next year, the courthouse and Executive Plaza will face these changes, with commissioners’ approval, and the new security system will be deployed at 911 tower sites and county outbuildings as well, he added.

“It gives us complete control, at a moment’s notice, of all our buildings,” George said.

He added that the new system is more secure. He gave the example that, if an employee were to lose their keys, not only would there be a potential security breach, but the county would have to pay to replace all of the keys. If an employee loses their keycard, security can cancel the lost card and issue a new one.

In other business, the commissioners will consider approving a grant application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a revolving loan fund in the amount of $1 million to be used as a loan service to individuals and organizations that qualify to clean up brownfield sites, or areas that are underused due to environmental contamination.

If awarded, the county will be able to issue loans at an interest rate that is below market value, and continue to re-issue loans as the money is paid back, said Jenny Picciano, lead planner.

Commissioners Jack McKernan, Tony Mussare and Rick Mirabito were present. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday.