Bucks County has passed its budget for the new year without increasing any taxes thanks to multiple officials in Doylestown. The new budget is a 2.1% increase over last year coming in at more than $432 million, cutting tens of millions from the initially projected amount.
Bucks Communications Director Larry King says some departments might not have gotten everything they wanted.
“I think everybody’s Christmas list took a hit,” King said. “Departments that felt like they needed to add a position, for instances, those are the types of things that were eliminated. They said, ‘Not this year, we have to do what we can to avoid a tax increase.'”
Balancing the budget this year presented a particularly difficult challenge to officials with the county government. Just one month ago Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola projected a $15.5 million deficit.
“We’re getting squeezed by both ends,” King explained. “The needs are rising but the kick-in from the state is lessening. We have to do some juggling down here and be as prudent with our expenditures as we can.”
In the end, Boscola said they found additional revenue and projected reduced costs for healthcare and personnel to close the gap. Commissioners’ Chair Robert G. Loughery thanked the Boscola, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler, and other county officers and staff for their hard work.
“These budgets aren’t easy. They get more challenging and complex each year,” Loughery said. “But we have a budget here before us today that I think covers much of the services that are needed in the county.”
The county currently has 2,389 employees on payroll and Loughery is confident they will be able to serve the people. This includes people necessary for the criminal justice system to operate properly, like judges and the Sheriff.
The following services are also funded:
- Area Agency on Aging (AAA);
- Behavioral Health;
- Board of Elections;
- Children & Youth Social Services Agency;
- Emergency Services;
- General Services;
- Health and Emergency Health;
- Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP);
- Parks and Recreation and;
- Veterans Affairs