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Lawrence budget reflects savings



Published: Fri, December 21, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

Savings of $150,000 to $160,000 are expected on bank fees and liability costs.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Lawrence County will start 2008 with an even greater savings than expected.

Commissioners passed the budget Thursday that reflected fewer costs than when the county budget was introduced last month.

County Administrator James Gagliano said in the last month they saved money on the interest and repayment costs of the $2.5 million Tax Anticipation Note because of fees waived by the bank.

The Tax Anticipation Note is a loan the county takes out annually to pay its bills until tax dollars start coming in after March.

Gagliano said they also were able to save money on workers’ compensation liability costs.

The total savings are expected to be $150,000 to $160,000, he said.

Property owners will see no tax increase with the $23.8 million general fund budget. The overall budget, which is made up largely of fees, state and federal money used for pass-through services, is $91.9 million.

Gagliano said the general fund costs have increased about 7 percent over 2007 largely due to pay increases for union and nonunion workers.

Members of Local 963 of the Lawrence County Court Appointed Employee Organization will receive a 3.5 percent pay increase in 2008. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 85 will get 50-cent-per-hour raises. All nonunion and management employees are slated for 3.5 percent increases, and elected officials will receive 4.5 percent increases based on the regional consumer price index.

Among the costs next year, the county will pay $600,000 toward the employee pension fund to keep it solvent, Commissioner Dan Vogler said.

“That has been a goal of this board of commissioners, to make sure the pension is totally funded and intact,” he said.

The tax rate remains at 5.313 mills. One mill of tax brings in $3,414,143.

cioffi@vindy.com


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