I think we have been a victim of a bait and switch. All the attention this month has been about the proposed pay raise for the Luzerne County commissioners and row officers that in the scheme of things wouldn't cost much. Then right before the holidays when nobody is paying attention Majority Commissioners Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak vote for a "balanced budget" that relies on invented revenues and rescheduling debt that will have to paid off later at a higher rate. But they weren't done. They then voted to use $7 million in unused bond money borrowed to build a new juvenile detention center that wasn't spent instead of cancelling the debt or holding on to it to fund the new prison on a wish list of other local projects. I don't know what the rules are for using bond money but it strikes me as dishonest to float a bond for one purpose then spend it on another.
Then they drop this bombshell.
$193M county capital plan issued
If a plan released Thursday holds true, Luzerne County Commissioners Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak plan to borrow and spend $14 million for several capital projects during 2007 -- their final year in office together.
The last time I checked the county had over $125 million in debt obligations. You have to pay it back at some point but how will you do it if you take even more properties off the tax rolls.
6 hours ago