County okays $13.2M budget

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Wyoming County Press Examiner

Wyoming County Commissioners signed off Thursday on a $13.2 million budget for 2013, up by about $191,000 from last year.

Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead said there was no millage increase for the budget totalling $13,194,184, so the tax rate would remain the same as in 2012.

The commissioners did ackowledge that they had met with municipal tax collectors recently and informed them that payments to them for collecting county taxes would change for 2014.

The county will be able to bill $3.50 per actual tax bill collected, Mead said, and county clerk Bill Gaylord said the change would amount to a more than $50,000 savings once it’s implemented one year out.

Gaylord said the policy was in line with what other counties have been doing across Pennsylvania.

In other business, the commissioners reappointed Osborn Patton to the county’s housing authority, and Stacy Huber to the county’s redevelopmet authority.

The commissioners noted that they had seven applicants for the Wyoming County Planner/Flood Plain Administrator position now held by Paul Weilage, who will be retiring this winter.

Commissioner Tom Henry said that the applicant pool had been narrowed down to three candidates – all who are “very qualified,” Henry said – and they would be interviewed next Wednesday, with the likelihood of an appointment made.

Henry noted the three finalists are Christine Dettore of Dalton, Jere Woods of Tunkhannock, and Nicole Wooten of Harrisburg.

The commissioners also agreed to contract with Palmetto Posting of Spartanburg, S.C., which would handle the physical posting of delinquent tax notices at $30 per posting.

In the past, this had involved the sheriff’s office, but that will not be necessary under the new contract which is good for one year and can ber renewed on a year-to-year basis.

The commissioners also approved CVR Clarion Services as a fund manager working with Merrill Lynch.

Also approved Thursday was a motion to renew Deborah Albert-Heise’s contract as public defender at an annual salary of $55,007.55, including a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment and $4,550 a month that includes space for her and the assistant public defender.

The commissioners also agreed to hire Kyle J. Verrill as a caseworker with Children & Youth Services effective immediately.

Mead noted that the 2013 room tax grant distribution list had been approved for disbursement via the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau as part a $59,2227 set aside.

Among the entities slated for grants are the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fair, Christy Mathewson Days, Founders Day in Tunkhannock, Nicholso Bridge Day, Dietrich Film Festival the Endless Mountains Nature Center and others.

The commissioners also noted that Marissa Barber had left the county to become Luzerne County’s election manager – a roll she had been fulfilling in an acting capacity up to the time of last November’s election.

All three commissioners agreed she would be sorely missed.

Following Thursday’s meeting, the salary board met to discuss pending matters which will be addressed in the Jan. 9 Examiner.