WELLSBORO - Tioga County commissioners heard from some of their department heads yesterday in preparation for announcement of the 2013 budget next week.
Commissioner Erick Coolidge hinted there would be no tax increase this year because in part of the "cooperation of the department heads."
Among those who met with the commissioners Thursday were Register and Recorder Janie Wetherbee who asked for a salary increase for the three staff in her office.
"We have an extra workload and a large amount of revenue we are dealing with now," she said.
Wetherbee said her staff must work two jobs to make ends meet, and she wanted to help them with a well-deserved raise.
"They work another job before they come in and after they leave," she said.
According to Coolidge, the matter will have to be taken up and approved by the salary board.
"Setting across-the-board increases that will be accepted correlates to holding the line on taxes, but your requests are appreciated," Coolidge said the Wetherbee.
Terry Browning, Tioga County prison warden, asked for an increase of $4,130 for new uniforms in the budget he submitted, but then told the commissioners he may have found a less expensive vendor for them.
"We also went from brass badges to the sewn-on type as a safety precaution," he said, which Coolidge explained was preferred "rather than have them wear something that might be used as a weapon."
The prison budget is down $200,000 from last year to this year's $2.4 million.
"A lot of the reduction was lower salary raises, food and medical costs," Browning said.
With the elimination of basketball and volleyball, there have been fewer injuries. The inmates have ping pong as exercise now.
In the Domestic Relations Department, director Mark Spencer told the commissioners his department needs a copier to replace one that is seven years old.
Spencer also wants to eliminate the one scanner for document imaging the department shares, and switch to smaller desk top scanners for employees who need them, such as was done in the prothonotary's office, he said.
"They wouldn't have to gather up all their materials and move to another location, but could just do the work at their desks," he said.
Spencer also noted his department has an agreement with the Sheriff's department to use one of their deputies as an enforcement officer to serve bench warrants and do other services, rather than hire an enforcement officer.
Spencer noted his budget for 2013 is up about $30,000,with another $15,000 going toward employee salaries and benefits. His total annual budget was $407,000 in 2012, and next year's is projected to be $438,000.
District Attorney George Wheeler said he thought his department did well, despite the extra expenses of the Priset trial.
"Next year we made a couple of small adjustments because telephone and gasoline bills are up," he added. "Salaries and benefits I expect will stay put."
Wheeler said he anticipates $75,000 in state reimbursement money coming in the next couple weeks, however some of the maintained services are questionable for next year, because of the possibility the $20,000 state STOP grant won't be there.
"That impacts three positions harshly. We won't know for awhile, but this year they have cut it again and opened it to a wider community so it is smaller and there is a wider pool trying to get it," he said.
Wheeler's budget for 2012 was $402,000 in 2013 it rises to $410,000.
Coolidge said if the grant money does not come through, the county will cover it.
Today the remaining county departments will present their budgets.