Blair leaders seeking approval for millage

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County leaders will be in court today seeking to keep general fund millage at 27.459 mills in 2014.

While the proposed levy is the same as imposed in 2013, the county must again seek court approval because the amount exceeds the 25-mill threshold included in the state’s County Code.

Today’s 2:30 p.m. hearing at the Blair County Courthouse is open to the public.

Senior Judge Charles Brown of Centre County, who heard the county’s request last year to exceed the 25-mill threshold, has again been assigned to consider the county’s tax levy request.

In a petition filed with the county prothonotary and forwarded to Brown, Solicitor Nathan Karn outlined the proposed budget and identified Dec. 17 as the date when commissioners are scheduled to vote on adopting the


Karn named several reasons for Brown to consider, including the minimal change in the taxable real estate. For 2013, the county had $714.4 million of taxable real estate. When the petition was filed, the county’s taxable real estate for 2014 added up to $726.3 million.

Blair County does not have a rapidly growing tax base, Karn said.

The petition also acknowledges how the county’s sale of Valley View Home reduced the budget.

Because of that sale, commissioners are considering a budget with revenue estimated at $44.5 million.

A year ago, commissioners adopted a $67.2 million spending plan, which accounted for Valley View’s revenue and expenditures.

The 2014 proposed budget also reflects the commissioners’ decision to designate $2 million from the Valley View Home sale proceeds to the county’s underfunded pension plan. After years of minimal or no contributions, county leaders said the $2 million allocation is the largest in years.

Commissioners have agreed to make three additional $2 million contributions to the pension fund in the next three years, also from Valley View Home proceeds.

County Finance Director Robert Kuntz introduced the proposed budget at the commissioners’ Nov. 12 meeting, following two public budget workshops.