Commissioners respond to Act 13 report

Commissioner Alan Hall responded to the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s report on Act 13 spending.
“The push has always been to get more money out of this county,” Hall said, noting in his remarks that the county has used its impact fee revenue within the guidelines.
In a report issued earlier this month, Auditor General DePasquale said that there were flaws in the impact fee legislation that led to what he described as “questionable spending.”
But Hall said the broad scope of the Act 13 legislation’s allowable spending provides counties and municipalities the ability to best use the funds for the taxpayers.
“The Auditor General has been against the funds going to the county from day one,” Hall said. He noted that in 2015 there was a push to take away the funding, but the legislators were able to keep Act 13 in place.
“The bottom line is the money comes back to the county for a reason,” Hall said, adding that York County received $300,000 in impact fee funds and that there is “no impact there.”
Of the $1 billion Act 13 has generated since 2012, only 35 percent of that comes back to the counties in the state, Hall said. The remaining 65 percent stays in Harrisburg. “You never hear them talk about that,” Hall said, as his listed the revenue generated from the fee and allocated to state agencies.
Hall also said that some municipalities are allocated more money than allowed by the Act 13 formula. Those funds, he said, go back to Harrisburg.
Impact fee funds received by the municipalities have been used to purchase equipment. “Equipment they had to buy anyway,” Hall said. “It saves the taxpayers money. It’s a huge investment in out county.”
Hall said the impact fee legislation is the “single most important thing the legislators have done for our county. Act 13 is a good thing for us. (The state) will continue to fight to take the money away form us.”
Commissioner MaryAnn Warren pointed out that the county recently signed a $1 million agreement for PHARE funds, generated by Act 13 revenue, to come back into Susquehanna County for housing initiatives.
She also said the county had invited the auditor general to visit Susquehanna County to “show him where the money was spent and how well spent it was.”
The commissioners authorized taking out a $9,000 construction loan. Hall explained the funds had been trapped for years in the county’s “funded debt” account and the only way to access the money was to take a loan. The loan will be paid back within a couple of days, he said.
The commissioners also approved the 2017 budget in the amount of $29,994,024.81, and the millage rate was set at 10.5 mills for general real estate for the general fund; .33 mills for the Library fund. Total millage for the coming year is 10.83 mills which has held steady since 2008.
The 2017 budget shows an increase of about $60,000 but has no major changes from the current year’s budget, Hall said.
The commissioners approved a transfer of just over $33,000 from the Marcellus Legacy Fund to the Agricultural Land Preservation Fund.
Non-union, non-elected employee salaries will see a two percent increase in the coming year; and the health care contribution rates, set by the salary board, were also approved.
Non-union employees making $25,000 or less will contribute 10 percent towards health insurance; those making $25,001-$40,000 contribute at 12 percent; those with annual wages of $40,001 and above contribute at 15 percent; and elected officials contribute 25 percent toward the premiums.
The county is accepting bids for January 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2018, for excavating and heavy equipment services. Sealed bids are to be returned to the chief clerk’s office no later than noon on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Bids will be opened at the Wednesday, Jan. 11 commissioners’ meeting.

Be the first to comment on "Commissioners respond to Act 13 report"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.