Financial review of county to be made public

A $164,000 analysis nearly a year in the making shall soon bare fruit, said Lycoming County Commissioner Jack McKernan on Thursday.

The commissioners hope to present an in-depth analysis of county financials and operations to the public the evening of Jan. 24 or 31 in Executive Plaza, he said.

The analysis, a result of the Early Intervention strategic planning program offered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, should provide insight into how well the county is run, generally and financially, and provide suggestions for future changes.

“The report is the analysis that the PFM Group had done on the county’s financial and operational structure and it gives us a five-year look forward,” McKernan said. “The report is full of suggestions to help us run a better county government.”

Public Financial Management, or PFM, Group performed the study by comparing Lycoming to other fifth-class counties and counties with similar revenue or populations.

The county contracted with the consulting firm for $164,000 at the end of last February. Up to half of that cost, about $82,000, may be refunded by the state, and the potential financial savings and greater efficiency further down the road will make the cost worthwhile, commissioners said.

Another advantage of the program is the state will cover up to 50 percent of the cost of any technological upgrades recommended in the analysis, said Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

Department heads are reviewing the report to ensure there are no mistakes. Assuming there are none, McKernan hopes the report will be online by the end of next week so people can take a look prior to the meeting.

“It’s a pretty long report, you don’t want to hit that print button too quickly,” he joked, adding the report is around 140 pages.

On another matter, Commissioner Tony Mussare commended local law enforcement and the U.S. Marshals for the work they do, not the least of which included apprehending an alleged murderer in Philadelphia and returning her to Lycoming County on Wednesday.

“They have a hard job, and they do it well,” he said.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved the rebudgeting of 2014 Community Development Block Grant funding to increase Washington Township’s Hill Road reconstruction budget from $2,700 to $46,654.

• Approved the purchase of a $42,783 office filing system for the Domestic Relations Office as part of its ongoing renovation in the courthouse. Domestic Relations funding will cover the purchase.

• Approved the reclassification of a clerk I position in the Juvenile Probation Office to a clerk III, and likewise reclassified Robin L. Kaiser, who holds that position. Kaiser’s pay will increase to $13.95 per hour, effective Sunday.

• Reappointed John Schon, Donald Hepburn and Michael Sherman to three-year terms on the Ag Land Preservation Board.

• Reappointed Joseph Radley and William Kahler as county Conservation District directors for four-year terms and Commissioner Rick Mirabito as the county commissioner director appointee for a one-year term.

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Executive Plaza.