Commissioners Release Preliminary 2024 Budget for Public Review — Release

December 6, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – The 2024 Warren County budget has been released for public review.

The budget funds Warren County’s government in the coming year, including the Court System, Human Services, 911 and Emergency Management, the Sheriff’s office, Elections, the District Attorney’s office, and a multitude of other local programs and services.

The budget is balanced by utilizing a two-mill tax increase and some minimal utilization of savings and includes investments in facilities and addresses numerous increases due to inflation and contract salary increases.

Regarding personnel, the county saw a 3% increase in wages due to union contract updates, representing an increase of over $225,000. Health insurance costs increased by $100,000. The ARC payment, which supplements the county pension system, increased $70,000.

Due to increased rates from providers, especially for facilities that house children placed through Juvenile Probation and Children and Youth Services, as well as the ongoing mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, the county saw a $300,000 increase overall in human services spending.

Capital expenses will include completing needed renovations to the courthouse’s exterior, HVAC systems, tower equipment, and communication systems for 911 and emergency management. These expenses total over $1.5 million and will be covered mostly by American Rescue Plan funds.

Two significant reasons for the initial budget deficit include an eroding tax base due to commercial tax appeals and reduced support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 911. In the case of tax appeals, the county has seen a decline of $200,000 to $300,000 in revenue due in the past two years to new construction, not offsetting large commercial appeals from major businesses in Warren. This is another sign of the need for a reassessment.

In the case of 911 funding, the Commonwealth’s formula for divvying out 911 funding drawn from the cell phone surcharges has been unfair, leaving some counties overfunded and others like Warren underfunded. The fee, as it stands, also doesn’t cover the cost of providing the 911 service. In Warren’s case, the county has seen an increase in the local share of well over $150,000. That local cost in property tax is far greater than the modest increases in the surcharge being proposed in the Legislature.

The two-mill tax increase will produce roughly $940,000 for the county. Over $200,000 will be utilized from the County’s savings to supplement the tax increase to complete the next year’s operational budget. In the previous two years, ARPA funds and savings have also been used to eliminate tax increases and cover operations.

According to the County Code, the budget will be displayed in the Finance Department from Dec. 5 until the budget is finally voted on during the Dec. 27 Commissioners meeting.


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