TL: The mystery is over. It looks like Luzerne County’s 2007 deficit will be around $13 million, possibly more, county Commissioner Greg Skrepenak acknowledged Tuesday.
Skrepenak said the county will likely resort to debt refinancing to plug the deficit.
Shortfalls in revenue from land sales, tax collection and some flooding expenses contributed to the deficit, Skrepenak said.
Anybody paying attention knew there were big holes in the Democratic Commissioners election year budget announced last December with the banner headline No new taxes in the 2007 Luzerne County budget. The smoke and mirrors financial plan relied on juggling future debt repayment and hoping to sell the land that the Valley Crest Nursing Home sits on for $4 million. Another big if was getting $3 million from beefed-up tax collection. Steve Urban voiced doubts about the plan before the election and I've been harping about it for months.
I have to give props to Skrep and friends for avoiding any serious talk of a deficit before being reelected. Can he honestly say he didn't see this coming? That explains why the much ballyhooed quarterly budget reviews never happened. They were also able to push off the reassessment values until next year.
To add to the madness they are talking about another golden parachute scheme like the life transition plan. Before they go down that road again they owe us a report on how many positions were eliminated the first time around and how many are still employed through the temp service. Remember they floated yet another bond to finance that plan that will cost $23 million over 15 years in the hope of saving $2+million if salaries are kept in check.
13 minutes ago