Friday, December 09, 2011

Luzerne County budget

The good news is that it doesn't use fictitious revenue from land sales or borrow more money. The bad news is it includes personnel cuts in the court system and other departments that will not stand.

County budget includes deep cuts

The largest preliminary cuts from 2011 expenditure levels are: probation, down $1.2 million; prison; more than $900,000; magisterial courts, more than $800,000; district attorney, more than $600,000; domestic relations, more than $600,000; stenographers, more than $300,000.

Carolee is not happy

2012 budget down $3.5M

County Prothonotary Carolee Medico Olenginski blasted Urban and Petrilla after the meeting for cutting $419,000 out of her budget, saying the loss would reduce the revenue generated by the office and “sabotage the new government.”
“In my opinion, they are vindictive, evil people and are taking their last shot at me because I stood up to them and could not be compromised to stoop to their level of bad government."

Nor is Judge Burke

Burke: Lawsuit over judiciary budget cut may happen

"There is a mandate to fund the court system at the level of "reasonable necessity.' The current proposal would fall woefully short of meeting that standard, and the court will continue to review all budget matters over the next weeks with a goal of coming to a funding resolution with county officials," Burke said Monday.

Gort42 Luzerne County Courthouse special correspondent Ethel Price has some inside info:

Petrilla sent an email to all departments telling them to prepare a new departmental budget to conform with the budget figures the commissioner's prepared. She also advised them to prepare a list of positions that would equal the budget cuts.

The row officers sent her a reply pretty much telling her to go screw herself and they were not going to cut staff for her and she should do her own dirty work. Apparently Carolee told her in very strong terms how she felt about it.

Today I got my hands on the overall budget and to tell you it is a mess is a gross understatement. For example, Petrilla/Urban cut the magistrate offices by over 53%. They cut some of the rents in half. Now think about that ..... in many offices, there are only two clerks so if the remaining clerk is sick or on vacation, the office will have to be closed. There are leases with private landlords who will not sit and give up half of their agreed upon rents. Approx. 10 of the 17 offices are housed in municipal buildings and these local governments also have leases and they are pretty much done with their budgets using figures from their leases ......... now what?

This is just a small part...... the Court Stenographers budget is cut by just over 44%. How can that be? These stenographers are required by law and must be present for every court action. How will this be accomplished when the budget is cut almost in half?

The big thing here is that the cuts that were made were not made from the proposed 2012 budget. They just threw those numbers away and these are cuts against the 2011 budget.

This budget is absolutely unworkable. The cuts were made without regard to employee contracts or legal requirements.

It really is a cluster f***. Petrilla and Urban put their heads together on this and all they did was prepare a budget that kills balances. The debt is the real culprit and it is impossible to pay the size debt we have by balancing the budget on the backs of the employees. It just can't be done. Debt needs to be funded by special dedicated debt mileage and the budget must be addressed on a needs basis, not a wish list.

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