State Budget Could Leave Jefferson County Looking At Another Tax Increase

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — Tuesday’s Jefferson County Commissioners meeting was a mix of good and bad news for the county, but the bad could be far more problematic.

The state’s proposed $31.5 billion budget could leave the District Attorney’s office $669,083.20 short and the 15 percent cut to human services could leave them short another $350,000.

Chad Weaver, the district court administrator, did some research on how the state budget could affect the county’s Adult and Juvenile Probation Department.

Commissioner Jack Matson cited Weaver’s figures for the Adult and Juvenile Probation Department

“That could result in 6-7 positions lost, the court docket in chaos and leave us with having to consider a 1 1/2 mill tax increase,” Matson said. “Our biggest beef is they’re marketing it as no tax increase, but all they are doing is kicking the can down the road.”

The commissioners have emailed state Senator Joe Scarnati and state Rep. Cris Dush about the proposed cuts.

Commissioners Discuss Medical Marijuana Facility

Last week’s news that a medical marijuana grow operation would be opening in Jefferson County was good news from the perspective of the commissioners.

“I’m really happy it brings a new industry to the county, and it fills a vacant building we had,” Matson said.

From fellow commissioner Herb Buller’s viewpoint, he also sees some pluses.

“We are excited it brings in some jobs, but we also don’t know how many other jobs may result with it being here. We could see more jobs, possibly in transporting it from the facility,” Bullers said.

Cresco Yeltrah LLC co-founder Kent Hartley said there will be about 20 to 40 employees working at the facility in the first six to nine months, then 50 to 60 by year two, and 80 to 100 by year three.

The facility will open no later than December 20, 2017. State regulations require the facility has to be operational within six months from the date of approval, which was June 20, 2017.

Other Business

In other business, the Commissioners approved an agreement between TimeKeeping System, Inc., the Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool for the use of an electronic guard tour system at the county jail for three years.

It will not cost the county any money since it will come from the Risk Pool.

“It tracks where and when corrections officers are in the jail,” Matson said. “It’s added coverage for liability purposes, if someone claims there was no one by their cell for several hours, this can be used to show what was going on.”

The next county commissioners meeting will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 10. It was moved from its regular date because the commissioners will be at the Northwest Commissioners meeting July 11.

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