Last updated: February 19. 2013 6:48PM - 460 Views

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Luzerne County government is a $260 million operation when budgets for Aging, Children and Youth and other agencies are added to the county's proposed $122.25 million general fund operating budget, a new report shows.

County Manager Robert Lawton said he publicly posted the 2013 budgets that aren't part of the general fund because this spending and revenue also requires oversight by county officials.

The supplemental budgets cover departments that receive little or no funds from local sources like property taxes and fees.

Most of these agencies rely heavily on state and federal funding or special fees or taxes, such as a portion of the hotel tax committed to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

We still have to monitor these county departments and agencies and make sure they are accountable, Lawton said.

The county's human services branches have combined budgets totaling $86.9 million, including $36.4 million for Children and Youth and $21.45 million for Mental Health and Developmental Services.

That's too much money, Kingston resident Ed Gustitus told Lawton during the manager's forum last week.

Gustitus urged Lawton to put these agencies under a microscope.

Lawton said county officials have a financial incentive to make sure human service departments have responsible budgets because the county general fund is expected to kick in a portion of funding as a match, such as $6.03 million slated for children and youth next year.

It's the agency expenses that drive the county match, he said.

The county Community Development Office, which receives no county funding, has a budget of $4.97 million next year, the report shows.

The 911 department has a $4.8 million budget and $300,000 in a reserve for construction, the report shows.

Lawton said he also included all staff salaries funded by these outside budgets in his new report listing all 1,499 funded positions, which total $90.0 million.

The administration also has released a capital projects report outlining the expected spending of $14.4 million in past-borrowed funds over the next three years.

County council must approve the projects before the money is released. The $7.4 million in proposed projects for 2013 includes $50,000 for a ticket payment collection system at the Water Street Parkade, $880,000 for repairs and improvements to the courthouse grounds and rear parking area, $500,000 for courthouse roof repairs, $240,000 for courthouse elevator repairs and more than $1 million for road resurfacing.

View the reports

The budgets, position report and capital projects plan are posted on the main page of the county website, www.luzernecounty.org.

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