Monday, June 30, 2008

Montco Officials Outline Goals for Budget


From: "Castor, Bruce"
To: "Matthews, Jim" "Hoeffel, Joseph"
Date: 6/30/2008 7:50 AM
Subject: Budget review committee
CC: "Graf, Robert" , "Ferman, Risa" , "Becker, Nancy", "Latzer, Steven"


Kindly note that I propose the following persons be added to the budget review committee. In keeping with the limitations set forth by Chairman Matthews, both are of supervisory rank and are aware they may not participate in the review of the budgets for their own departments.

The Honorable Nancy Becker, Recorder of Deeds
Steven Latzer, Esq., Chief of Staff to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Mr Graf: please add a Resolution for consideration to the next Commissioner's Meeting to reflect the above.

Thank you.

Commissioners consider fiscal concerns for 2009; no plans to increase taxes
(ed. Note: plans to increase taxes YET!)
By MARGARET GIBBONS, Times Herald Staff

COURTHOUSE — While most people are thinking of their summer vacations, the thoughts of the Montgomery County commissioners are on the preparation of the county’s 2009 budget.

The commissioners this week outlined their budget goals.

These goals are:

• Not increasing taxes.

• Maintaining a fund balance sufficient to protect the county’s highly-coveted Triple A bond rating.

• Reducing the county’s complement of fulltime employees.

• Limiting fulltime staff hirings to newly mandated or grant-funded requirements.

The commissioners included these goals in a resolution they passed to formalize the creation of a budget review committee.

This committee, which is composed of senior staff members, performs the initial review of all county departmental budgets.

Prior to putting the committee together several years ago, the county commissioners would do the line-by-line review of each budget.

“It was a seven-to eight-week process that was very draining and laborious, sitting through dozens and dozens of departments and going over such things as toilet paper,” said Commissioners Chairman James R. Matthews.

Now, the commissioners use the review committee to go over the preliminary “wish lists” to free up the commissioners’ budget time more for policy issues such as employee healthcare. (Click Link to read the rest of the article:)

The review committee last year slashed some $5 million to $6 million in requests before the commissioners even saw the departmental budgets.

However, while the commissioners used the review committee, they never formalized the creation of such a committee by resolution.

This week’s action took care of that.

In addition to outlining the 2009 budgetary goals of the commissioners, the resolution directs the committee to consider the commissioners’ priorities when conducting their reviews.

These priorities include enhancing economic development, continuing the “greening” of the county through conservation and land preservation and addressing traffic congestion.

Those appointed to this year’s committee are: county Chief Operating Officer Robert W. Graf, who will serve as chairman; Chief Financial Officer Randy Schaible, who will sit as vice chairman; and, Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Maza, Executive Assistant Eleanor Schneider, Solicitor Barry Miller, Health Director Dr. Joseph DiMino and Human Resources Director Peter Leis.

Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., the odd man out in the current administration as a result of a power-sharing arrangement between Republican Matthews and Democratic Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel III, noted that most members of the committee are aligned with Matthews, Hoeffel or both.

He asked to appoint his own representative to the committee and Matthews agreed.

Castor said he will submit the name of his representative after giving it some thought since he was not aware that the committee was going to be acted upon this week.

The county this year is working under a $483.8-million operating budget that is financially fueled, in part, by a 2.84-mill real estate property tax.

Margaret Gibbons can be reached at or 610-272-2501 ext. 216.

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