Proposed McKean County budget shows no tax increase

Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

SMETHPORT — The proposed 2019 McKean County budget shows no increase in the tax rate.
The budget, which was unveiled today, calls for general fund spending of $17,656,492 and a similar amount of revenue.
The proposed budget carries a tax rate of 11.25 mills, the same as this year. Under this rate, property-owners pay $11.25 in county taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.
The proposed budget has been posted on the county's webpage. Hard copies of the budget are available for public inspection at the county courthouse in Smethport. To inspect the budget at the courthouse, ask Chief Clerk Audrey Irons for information.
The county Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt a final budget at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.
Holding the line on taxes comes as welcome relief to county taxpayers. 
For 2017, the commissioners raised the tax rate by 1.25 mills over 2016. The 2016 budget carried a jump of .75 mills over 2015.
Commissioner Cliff Lane (D-Turtlepoint) said Tuesday that the proposed 2019 budget is "very workable." He said the commissioners did not fill all the requests for funding hikes proposed by the county department heads.
He said the commissioners met with department heads in September and October to hear their requests for funding in 2019. 
"We always receive requests for more money," Lane said. "We just said 'no.'"
Commissioner Carol Duffy (R-Smethport) said: "we're trying to run the county as efficiently as possible." She said the proposed budget is "a little tight."
Commissioner Al Pingie (R-Bradford) was not available for comment on the proposed spending plan for 2019.
Both Lane and Duffy praised new county Finance Director Lori Coffman of Crosby for her work on developing the proposed budget.
"She did an excellent job," Lane said. "She's taking it like a pro."
Duffy called Coffman "a godsend."
"She's easy to work with and very resourceful," Duffy said.
Lane and Duffy said it takes a good team to prepare the annual county budget. They said County Comptroller Jody Bloomquist of Kane also played a key role in preparing the budget.
"We look at the budget as a team," Lane said.
"We believe we have a good team," Duffy said.