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Finances Lead to Reassessment Support

Blair County Leaders discuss finances
HOLLIDAYSBURG - New budget projections for Blair County reveal a growing deficit over the next several years.  Because the County Commissioners in Hollidaysburg say they are out of ways to cut costs or increase revenue,   they are now supporting a county wide reassessment.
   
Before a meeting a community business leaders last week, the Blair County Commissioners announced that for the first time since 1958, the entire board is in favor of a county wide reassessment.  Today the financial pressures that lead to that position were spelled out.   Blair County's finance director appeared before the Board of Commissioners to detail the County sinking financial situation.
 
"Without a reassessment   in 2017, we are going to be showing a negative fund balance by the end of 2017 to the tune of about one point three million dollars."  

 Because expenses have been going up faster than County revenues, deficits for Blair County averaging about two million dollars a year are projected for the each of the next four years.

"It fact it look as though we will be short over a million dollars when we get to the 2017 budget   and we will be required by law to make cuts.  Those cuts will be in staffing; those cuts will hit areas like public safety at the Courthouse."

In response, the Commissioners are all supporting   a county wide reassessment that could lead to an increase in property taxes   for Blair County homeowners.

"So it has come to that situation so that in order to provide the services that the county   is mandated to provide, we need to do this for more revenue."

 With more than sixty six thousand property parcels in Blair County, the reassessment will be a complicated project that will take about two and a half years to complete.   But it is an effort that is long overdue and needs to get underway soon according to the commissioners.   

"It has been 56 years since our last reassessment, I sure there are a lot of issues of a lack of uniformity, and fairness out there.  So we need to have a study to see what is happening there." 

Blair county officials hope to the reassessment process started by mid-year.  It's expected the whole process will require county borrowing to complete but will lead to a balanced budget in 2017.
       


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