County to work on budget

JOHNSTOWN – The lengthy Fulton County government budget process, which will culminate with adoption of a 2015 budget at year’s end, begins June 9.

That will be the day county Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch will distribute budget worksheets, request forms and guidelines to all county departments and outside agencies. She doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary for 2015, other than the usual call to keep a tight rein on finances.

“It’s just another year,” Kuntzsch said Tuesday. “We’re hoping we can continue to keep an eye on dollars and keep costs low.”

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors capped off the last budget season Nov. 25, when it adopted an $85.3 million 2014 county budget that included an average property tax-rate decrease of 6.3 percent.

The 2014 spending plan had a $27.3 million levy, which was down by 3.8 percent, or about $1.1 million from 2013. The average county property-tax rate for 2014 ended up being $10.99 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a reduction of 74 cents from the $11.73-per- $1,000 rate for 2013.

Kuntzsch recently sent a memo to supervisors and department heads outlining the 2015 budget schedule. She is asking departments to submit their preliminary budget requests to her office by July 16. From Aug. 12 to 27, the Board of Supervisors’ oversight committees will review the requests. The budget director and Finance Committee will scrutinize the proposed departmental budgets further in September and October. Kuntzsch will file the tentative 2015 county budget with the board Nov. 10.

The full board will then review the budget, conduct a public hearing Nov. 24, and look to adopt a final budget between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1.

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan said Tuesday it is “kind of early” to get an accurate read on how the county budget process will go this year.

“I think we’ll get the same challenges we had the last several years,” he said.

Fagan said just like in years past, Fulton County is looking at no mandate relief coming from the state, as well as “scant” revenues.