It's budget season for county governments

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Nov 26, 2013 3:30 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- County commissioners across the state are beginning work on their 2014 budget plans, and their refrain is familiar -- the economic recovery is slow, demand for services is high and revenues are stagnant.  The combination of factors has commissioners looking at new efficiencies and program cuts.

Budget hearings are underway in Dauphin County, where Commissioner Jeff Haste expects they will again get by without a property tax increase.

"But if something doesn't change from the state level, from the economy level or something [else], I don't know how much longer we can do that," Haste explained on witf's Smart Talk.

Likewise, Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin expects to avoid a tax hike, next year, through cuts and efficiencies.

"But I will say the pressure keeps mounting every year," he said," and if revenues keep becoming stagnant and we don't get the flexibility from Harrisburg that we need, you do get down to the bone."

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania says the biggest ticket items impacting county budgets are human services.

The group is once again asking the General Assembly for more flexibility and a broader base of funding options, in addition to the property tax.

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