The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

October 17, 2013

Cambria short on funds

EBENSBURG — Cambria County Controller Edward Cernic Jr., has robbed Peter to pay Paul, as the old saying goes, and has enough money to meet the county’s $1.2 million payroll today, but little money is in place for the final two months of 2013.

Cernic, controller for the past eight years, says he’s concerned.

“We’ve never had to do this this early,” said Cernic on Thursday. “We’re making payroll this week, but after that I don’t know.”

During the past several weeks the county, by borrowing from the fund balances of its agencies, has generated $2.6 million in funds to cover the payroll and the $1 million tab due for health care costs at the first of each month.

But the reserve accounts from agencies such as Area Agency on Aging, drug and alcohol and other county human services branches have been tapped heavily, leaving each with a $10,000 reserve, Cernic said.

As of Thursday, the county had a general fund total of a little over $100,000, Cernic said. Unpaid bills totaled $300,000.

While some funds are anticipated over the next two months in the form of state reimbursements for services provided by county agencies, nearly all real estate tax revenue has been paid and spent, Cernic said.

Budget meetings by the commissioners to develop a spending plan for 2014 are already well underway, President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said. Work is being done to guarantee money will be available for the next payroll and health insurance premium due Nov. 1.

Lengenfelder said the tight cash flow problem comes as no surprise because of the change in the budget approach taken last year.

“We’re working out something with the banks. The deal is in the works,” Lengenfelder said.

“We’re working with the banks in the hopes of putting the county in a better position at the end of the year.”

Lengenfelder said details of the plan will be revealed in an upcoming commissioners’ meeting. The board next meets at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“We knew at the beginning of this year that for October to December money would be tight,” he said.

In late November, the commissioners unveiled a 2013 budget of $56.7 million which avoided a tax increase in part by freezing wages of nonunion and management workers.

They also asked departments and agencies to reduce by 4.75 percent their proposed budgetary requests in the hopes of keeping operating costs down.

Introduced at that time was a zero-based budgeting process used in developing budget requests, a move Lengenfelder said  made people look at what they’re doing and spending.

“Last year, we got our hands around the scope of the problem and some very smart folks are coming up with a long-term remedy,” he said.

Lengenfelder questioned Cernic’s analysis that the agencies funds have been all but exhausted.

While not offering specifics, Lengenfelder said the agencies still have some money available.

“There are other dollars that can’t be touched. There is money the county can’t touch,” he said. “We’re not ready to default on anything. We’ve been working on this all year.”

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ kathymellotttd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • amd 31 New filtration system targets mine water

    Orange stones surround a black plastic discharge pipe at the Rock Tunnel abandoned mine drainage site.
    There is a rusty tint to some nearby water and mud, too.
    Soon, though, a new filtration system, consisting of shallow vegetative wetlands, a settling basin, concrete trough, buried limestone and aeration component, is expected to help return those elements back to their natural appearances.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland to weigh speed study

    A group of Theatre Drive residents has convinced Richland Township’s supervisors to look into the costs of a special traffic study weighing whether their residential neighborhood’s current 35 mph speed limit should be reduced.

    July 30, 2014

  • Border battle lingers: Adams Twp. wants court to become involved

    Adams Township officials are asking the Cambria County court to once again become involved in its long-running boundary line dispute with Richland Township.

    July 30, 2014

  • FRANK BURNS 31 Officials urge creation of crime watch groups

    State Rep. Frank Burns told the crowd about the night his life changed forever.
    After leaving a AAABA game, the then-16-year-old Burns was surrounded by three males, “dancing” around him like boxers and taunting him.
    They attacked and he was on the ground. He took a powerful kick to the face.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Injured officer back on duty

    Two people were injured in a three-car accident Tuesday evening when a truck failed to yield to a Johnstown police officer who was rushing to assist another patrol car, police said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimm, Michael Child rapist to report to jail Monday; medical concern cited

    A Johnstown man set to pick a jury today on charges he sexually abused two boys, entered a guilty plea in Cambria County court Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIFT JOHNSTOWN ‘They got it done’: Lift Johnstown recognizes pair for trailhead work

    Rob McCombie and Steve Coy showed up Wednesday at a Path of the Flood Trail spur in East Conemaugh dressed like they were ready to get to work.
    Instead, a group of community advocates were waiting there to thank them for the hard work they’ve already put in.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local News in Brief | Philly man arrested for selling heroin

    July 30, 2014

  • Conemaugh Valley board tackles security, pupils’ instruction time

    The Conemaugh Valley school board on Wednesday agreed to improve security at the high school and increase instructional time and add art classes at the elementary school.

    July 30, 2014

  • Wine tasting, picnic will aid animals

    Briar Valley Winery and Bedford County Humane Society are hosting Yappy Hour 2014 at the vineyard grounds on Stein Road in Everett.

    July 30, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads