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Bucks County approves 2013 budget with no tax increase

By Emily Thiel, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 19 2012 01:19:38 PM CST
Bucks County Commissioners

The Bucks County Commissioners unanimously adopted the proposed budget for 2013, keeping the tax millage rate at 23.2, a 0% increase from the last fiscal year.

The preliminary release of the budget showed a $2.7 million deficit, which the county focused on and successfully found revenue increases and expenditure reductions. Revenues include increases that were approved by row officers, a draw in anticipated fund balance in debt service and other increases due to actuals of the 2012 budget.

"This is the sixth year, out of the last seven, with no increase to taxpayers," stated Charles H. Martin, Commissioner Vice Chair.

In cutting the budget expenditures, Bucks County set a goal to cut back staff to 2,400 employees. Currently, Bucks has met that goal with 2,399 in staff, and will further reduce the workforce to 2,350 employees by June, 2013.

"The positions aren't specifically identified," Robert G. Loughery, Commissioner Chair, told 69 News. "The majority of that will come from attrition."

According to the commissioner chair, the majority of the positions cut from the budget during 2012 were also through attrition. The county is focusing on working with division leaders to come up with new organizational charts for their departments, in order to be more efficient with less staff.

"We're going to challenge division leaders, courts, row officers to do the same thing again this year," said Loughery, "It was not the easiest thing to do, but we are in a better, stronger position today."

Through better efficiencies, Bucks County will have an increase in revenue of around $900,000 and a reduction of $2.1 million in expenses.

The beginning fund balance for the 2013 budget is $44,345,200; total revenues are $390,697,900 with total expenditures set at $390,348,500.

2013 will be the first year, in the last four years, that the general fund will show an increase of approximately $350,000.

Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia stated during the Wednesday meeting that this is the first time she is voting in favor of the budget, feeling more involved in the process.