Mirabito aims to keep his commissioner seat

Rick Mirabito is seeking the Democratic nomination in the May 21 primary for reelection as a Lycoming County commissioner.

If reelected, Mirabito intends to focus on the structural deficit of the county budget by “reducing the head count,” or eliminating county positions as they become available either through retirement or people otherwise choosing to leave.

“Unless we take corrective action with the budget, we will continue to have operating deficits which will require tax increases,” Mirabito said.

Increasing taxes inhibits job and economic growth by discouraging businesses from moving into the county and making expansion difficult for businesses already here, he said.

“A structural deficit does not give confidence to taxpayers or businesses that we are managing their taxes properly,” he said.

“The budget deficit hinders the county’s ability to address other serious problems which are very expensive, such as repairs needed to the levee and the new radio system.”

Mirabito, of Hepburn Township, said he will push for transparency and accountability, noting he has been “an outspoken critic of the handling of the hotel tax.”

“It is only through transparency and accountability that the public will gain control over tax revenue spending and avoid tax increases,” Mirabito said.

He also supports livestreaming the commissioners’ meetings to make them more accessible to those who cannot physically be present at 10 a.m. on weekdays, he said.

“The big problem with us having meetings at night is we have to bring all the staff. If we could livestream it, people could still watch and listen real-time or later,” Mirabito said. “In this day and age, it’s not unusual to use technology to make democracy more accessible to the public.”

Throughout his first term, Mirabito is proud to have had a hand in implementing the bridge bundling program, which uses a $5 fee on vehicle registrations countywide to fund the reconstruction of various deficient bridges, the early education program ReadyRosie, and the recently completed Early Intervention Program report, which shows the county where it can improve financially and in terms of operation.

The program also opens the county up to future funding.

“I knew from my state experience that it was a way for us to bring money back to our county,” he said.

Mirabito is a 2018 graduate of the state County Commissioners Association Academy of Excellence and has been selected by the association to participate in its Center for Excellence training program, he said.

He is the commissioner representative for the county library system board, conservation district board, Penn State Cooperative Extension board, 4H Advisory Council and the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation Local Elected Official board.

Mirabito also serves on the Lycoming-Clinton Joinder and Joinder Human Service Advisory boards.

Prior to being elected commissioner in 2016, Mirabito served three two-year terms as a state representative, from 2009 to 2014.

“The experience that I have in the private sector as a businessman and lawyer, along with significant experience in local and state government, will help me work to solve the serious problems facing Lycoming County,” Mirabito said.

A graduate of Cornell University and Boston College Law School, where he received the St. Thomas More Award, Mirabito also served as editor-in-chief of the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review.