Commissioners to vote on 2018 budget today

The Lycoming County commissioners are set to vote on a finalized 2018 budget today, with the expected deficit now down to about $1.5 million from the initial proposal of $7.4 million.

As part of their efforts to narrow down the deficit, the commissioners have included a .75 millage real estate tax increase. Homeowners with property assessed at $100,000 would see a county tax bill increase of $75.

The increase will bring the millage rate up from 5.75 to 6.5 mills. It is the second tax increase in the past 12 years, according to Beth Johnston, director of fiscal services.

“We’re set on where we’re going to be with the millage increase,” said Commissioner Jack McKernan. “Obviously, we’ll keep working on trimming expenses. We can see, with these last 10 years of deficit spending, our cash is getting tighter and tighter. We know our job’s not done.”

McKernan said, aside from bringing the deficit under $2 million, there have been no major changes to the budget since it was last presented in early November. He added the approximately $10 million bond that was approved last week, meant to pay for projects such as the construction of field 12 at the landfill, will not affect the proposed budget.

“We’re doing a small tax increase and cutting the expenses where we can. Timing plays a part in which way the numbers go,” he said. “Maybe in the 2019 budget, we can get it down to a balanced budget.”

The vote is supposed take place during the commissioners meeting at 10 a.m. today in Executive Plaza.