County to lay out 2014 budget

 

BY PAT FARNELLI

Wyoming County Press Examiner

 

Although it was on the commissioners’ agenda for Tuesday morning’s meeting, they only approved the 2014 budget in principle and noted there would be no tax increase.

County clerk Bill Gaylord said he was still hammering out the details late Tuesday afternoon but promised it would be available for public inspection Wednesday.

Commissioners will vote for final adoption of the budget at a meeting Dec. 31.

Health costs for county employees increased by $250,000, or approximately 12 percent, said Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord.

“We are in a consortium, and the insurance buffer kind of protects us, but this was still quite an increase.”

In other business, the commissioners approved flood buyouts for properties damaged in Tropical Storm Lee during their meeting Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency checks have been received for six homes in the county’s Group 4, and its Emergency Management Agency is ready to hold closings on the properties Wednesday, Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead said.

The buyout checks should be received by the flood victims within the next week or two.

A contract for a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for the county 911 Center was also approved. Unveiled and demonstrated on, the CAD system, at a cost of $253,915, will greatly enhance the information available to local emergency dispatchers, and will integrate the county mapping to simplify directing responders to an exact location.

“They can use our GIS mapping on this system, and rather than having dispatchers pull out a card to know what questions to ask, the protocol will be immediately displayed on the computer screen,” Mead said.

“I have never seen our dispatchers so excited,” she said. “They showed up even on their days off, and were very impressed.”

She said that the Windows based system “should save our county $96,000 per year in maintenance costs” that the old system had required.

“In a few years, it should pay for itself,” she said.

The CAD program was purchased from SunGard, a Florida company, and Solicitor Jim Davis said that when he reviewed the contract, he found several provisions of concern to him. One provision designated Florida law, and he said that he wanted to modify that provision to specify Pennsylvania Law as the governing law, so that issues could be dealt with in the Wyoming County Courthouse. He also had a change for the indemnity provision, so that the county is held harmless for any claims filed by a customer.

The commissioners approved the contract Tuesday with changes per the recommendation of the solicitor.

The county Comprehensive Plan is moving forward, and the commissioners are meeting this week with agencies which develop comprehensive plans to hire as consultants.

Commissioner Tom Henry said that the search has been narrowed down to two agencies: Swiger Consulting and Urban Research & Development Corporation.

“We need to choose a company by the end of the year to get the state Department of Community and Economic Development funding rolling,” said Commissioner Ron Williams.