A major announcement is coming to Franklin County at the Commissioners meeting on Wednesday

July 9 – Last week’s Franklin County Commissioners meeting lasted more than three hours because the group talked about salaries in the county. 

The salary board meets quarterly. 

Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “Generally, salaries are reviewed and approved at the beginning of the year based on the budget that we approve., but obviously, there are special things that happen during the year, and department managers and elected officials come to us with situations they’re dealing with. Two of the largest requests at the salary board were through our fiscal department, which is going through and has been going through a huge restructure with the investments we’ve made in technology and investments, things of that nature. It required us to do a little bit of restructuring.”

The District Attorney’s office is a little understaffed at the moment. 

Flannery said, “It’s really difficult to compete financially with salaries in the private sector, when you can have these people going to private law offices and potentially making quite more than they could for the county. I can tell you that we made compromises throughout that meeting with the DA and our fiscal department. We had probation there, the treasurer’s office, tax office, the department emergency services, but I think we were able to get out of that meeting and the commissioners felt we pushed the line as far as we could to stay on budget for 2024. We may have to do some creative accounting, but I think we can pull it off and stay within budget.”

Even though some raises were approved, with creative accounting there won’t be a tax increase? 

Flannery said, “That is my goal, yes, and I think we were able to do that through that meeting. So yeah, I’m excited about that. I think we helped out some of our departments. The thing is, as a county commissioner, our responsibility is primarily to balance this budget, and my commitment’s always been to not raise taxes unnecessary. But people don’t understand what the commissioners do. We are mandated to provide services. We have courts to run and the jail and elderly and seniors and mental health and children out there that we have to be competitive somewhat in salaries to attract good people to get this done and keep us in a safe community, that we’re providing these services for our residents, but yet we have to balance that line. I mean, it’s tough sometimes. It’s really, really difficult. People look at commissioners as a political office where, in essence, we’re not really political. We’re trying to provide services at the best, reasonable price. So it’s difficult.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The pressure is on municipalities everywhere. We have inflation, we have the people power problem. We have old technology that has been left undone and needs to be updated, and technologies are just exponentially changing. So we do have to remember the things that, I’m going to say, even though you just talked about not being political, the things that we vote for on other levels and what policies they end up putting into place, end up affecting all of us, down to your level, and down to the individual.” 

When the Pennsylvania State budget isn’t done on time, it hurts a lot of other organizations – and we currently don’t have a completed budget from Harrisburg. 

Flannery said Franklin County will have pain if “this extends into the fall. That makes us very nervous, because I know I’ve said this a million times, two thirds of our budget comes primarily from state funding, so that could cause a problem for us. Now, fortunately, talking about budgets again, we keep a healthy reserve for that purpose, but once we go past 90 days, we start to get in trouble. Then we have to look at some ulterior ways to collect funds or get funds, and we don’t want to go to the bank and borrow money if we don’t have to, which will affect us negatively if the state doesn’t get their rear ends together and get it done.” 

The commissioners will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. at 272 North Second Street. 

Flannery said, “There is some big news coming out of the county. It will happen tomorrow at our meeting. Commissioner Horst wants to unveil a solution to a situation that the county’s been dealing with for a while. My apologies, I cannot discuss it until we come out with the public tomorrow. But please stay tuned tomorrow so that there will be some significant news coming out.”
For tomorrow’s agenda, click here.