(12/1) The year 2009 is coming to a close - where has the year gone? What has been occurring in Adams County and Adams County
Is has been a busy year! I ask myself - where do I start? This year has brought many changes in Adams County. Let's talk about our veterans and those now serving. As I write this article the commissioners had the opportunity to attend the veterans ceremony held each year in Adams County. It was said that we take for granted
those who have served and those now serving our country. The next time you see a veteran say 'thank you for protecting our country's freedom and serving'.
We have a director of Veterans Affairs in Adams County. At the end of 2008 the director retired and the commissioners made a commitment to evaluate the services provided by the county and how improvements to the services could occur. After visiting neighboring counties we came to the conclusion that we should upgrade
services for our veterans. First we had to recruit for a director and through that recruiting process we had a list of qualified candidates and hired John Farrell as our director of Veterans Affairs.
For those who do not know, the veterans office is located in the basement of what we call the Murphy Building and the telephone number is 717-337-9835. If you are a veteran and need service for benefits that you may be eligible for or any questions you may have please call this office.
As the county grows, space needs become more pressing and much needed. If you have not been to the Adams County Court house this year some departments have re-located to allow for the 4th Court Room to be constructed. Let's start with the Domestic Relation office which moved from what is referred to as the Old Court House
to the first floor of what is referred to as the American Legion Building.
This move transpired in July of this year. The space vacated by the Domestic Relation offices were renovated and the County Solicitor, District Attorney and Victim Witness offices now are located in the Old Court House which were located on the third (3rd) floor of the main court house. These offices were re-located in
September. The 3rd floor now will be converted to a 4th court room. This will be completed by December 15th of this year in time for the 4th Judge to take his seat.
As you can imagine this has taken a lot of planning and co-ordination. The good part is that all the renovations to the county facilities were completed by county maintenance staff under the direction of our Maintenance Director, George Groft. Enough cannot be said about the professionalism of the maintenance staff in the
county. The cost saving for renovations were done for a fraction of cost if the county would have had to hire a contractor to do the work.
I also need to mention the work done by our work release personnel performing their Community Service contributing to cost savings. Through all this the county will have filled the space needs for the next 5-7 years.
As we all know, business cannot continue as usual, we need to change to become more efficient. It is no different in the county then with businesses or your own home. Adams County government is conducting an evaluation of its financial management practices in order to better deal with the economic challenges that are
confronting all of us.
The objective is to strengthen the County's financial practices and to enhance the value citizens receive for their tax dollars. In these tough economic times, we need to make the best use of the dollars we have to minimize tax increases. That's what makes this project critical.
The 2009 budget was prepared with an increase in Capital Reserve. Well, that was acceptable until the State Budget was delayed for 101 days before it was passed. The ending year balance will be reduced, but not that significantly.
I have been an Adams County Commissioner for six years and those four months were the most challenging in my six years as Commissioner. The Commissioners had to make some difficult decisions to get through that crisis. Thanks to our employees, vendors and the residents of the county, we got through that difficult period.
Now as you read this article, the 2010 budget will be prepared, with no tax increase and yes it will be adopted on time!
The year 2009 was a challenging year for everyone. As the year comes to an end I would wish all a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2010! It has been a pleasure to serve as one of your County Commissioners in 2009 and I look forward to 2010!