Pike zeros out new budget

MILFORD, PA — The new Pike County budget came out on December 17 as quietly as Santa down a chimney.

No tax millage increase is called for. The 2018 plan calls for $40 million in spending, a $3.2 million reduction from the current year’s budget, which required a 1.2 mill tax increase.

As chief clerk Gary Orben passed out budget paperwork, the commissioners’ only brief comment on the plan came in their noting that they had “swapped out” savings between the administrative budget and the Scenic Rural Character Preservation (SRCP) program. The overall 19.74 mills total remained the same despite the spending cut as the savings were directed toward lowering the millage for the 2005 SRCP initiative’s $10 million bond program. The county’s debt service millage increased just under one mill to 1.27 mills.

Taxes for 2018 will be billed against an assessed county property value of $1.127 billion, up some $2 million from the current year.

With approval of the budget, Pike will begin 2018 with a balance of $1.7 million on hand, an increase of $100,000 from 2017.

The county’s one-page budget summary lists only six spending areas. The largest single budget line at $10.5 million is listed as miscellaneous. Judicial and corrections costs combined, at $20.2 million, make up more than half of the 2018 expenditures budget.

In other business, Jessica Grohmann, assistant director of community planning, announced a second round of SRCP/Marcellus Mini-Grants. Grants of up to $25,000 are available to Pike municipalities for development of parks and recreation, greenways and trails, and river access improvements.

Three projects for trail construction in Dingman’s township park and Bridge Preserve, and a train platform in Lehman Township, were awarded a total of $50,000 this year.

Pike has received a total of $290,000 in Act 13, Marcellus recreational funding since 2011.

The commissioners named Krista Gromalski to a vacancy as a conservation education and outreach coordinator for the county conservation district, with a 40-hour work week, salaried $33,500 annually.

The commissioners accepted a $71,000 bid, the sole bid, from Bimbo Bakery, to provide fresh bread and baked goods for the correctional facility.


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