(9/1) It has been a gorgeous summer! The lawns are green, the temperature has not been overly hot, lots of rain, but I cannot believe it is already the middle of August!
For those who do not know, I am a life long resident of Adams County and operate the family farm and have been involved in local government for many years. Those of us in agriculture have seen a good growing season after a wet spring.
In Adams County there are three farmer's markets - every Friday there is one at the Village Outlets (Route 97 and Route 15 interchange) - every Saturday there is one on the square in Gettysburg and one in New Oxford. If these are not convenient, I find it enjoyable to drive to and visit the roadside stands found at most
vegetable and fruit farms throughout the county. I would encourage you to do the same. I would also advise you to not forget our neighbors to the south and seek out those market places also.
Speaking of the middle of August, the state of Pennsylvania has yet to adopt a budget for the 2009-2010 year. Pennsylvania is the only state without a budget as of this time. What effects will that have on County Government including Adams County?
Counties have the responsibility for a broad array of services on behalf of the public, most of which are the direct results of state and federal mandates. While we can do our part in a difficult budget year, we need adequate funding for core services to assure their provision at an adequate level and to prevent difficult
choices about property tax increases. For those who may not know, property tax is the only legal tax counties can levy in Pennsylvania.
Adams County receives over 8 million dollars from state funding for mandated services and until the budget is passed the financial burden is huge on the county.
The Commissioners will be taking steps to address the short-fall in funding by September if the budget is not passed at the state. As many organizations are suspending services, the county may be forced to make disastrous cuts to services or also suspend others.
Counties must start preparing their budgets for the coming fiscal year (which begins in January) in September and counties are required by law to adopt their budget by December 31st.
If the Commonwealth budget does not adequately fund core government mandated services, it will be difficult for the county to fund the necessary services without a property tax increase.
Let's talk about efficiency. The Commissioners are continually looking for ways to become more efficient, just to point out a few: The Adams County Commissioners and the Adams County Courts have endorsed changes in our prison system focusing more on treatment and increase the use of the work released program. Also, this is
year two (2) for the prison garden. In-mates plant and harvest vegetables and then use them in the prison kitchen. While talking about the prison kitchen, it now is operated in-house with inmates (under the direction of prison staff) preparing the food. In order to utilize the garden for an extended period a greenhouse is being erected on site.
Energy has become a conversation by everyone and the commissioners did an energy audit of our older buildings and found where energy could be saved. Improvements will be completed over the next year to improve energy efficiency, just to mention a few: different lighting, new windows, heating and air conditioning units,
additional insulation in roof area and more efficient washers and dryers at Green Acres (county home). The energy saving, over the next 15 years, will pay for the cost of the improvements. If you are like me, I noticed my electric bill increasing steadily and using less electric.
As summer ends and fall approaches and a new school year begins, our children take to streets and roadways, drivers need to be more cautious. Although a school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road, most accident injuries occur to children before entering or after exiting a bus. Please be extra careful and slow down
when you see children walking or standing along roadways.
This difficult economy today has made us all sit back and take a deep breath and re-evaluate where we are and where we want to be. But by making some sacrifices in the end we will become stronger and appreciate that we live in this great country called America!
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