HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County commissioners are advising their department heads and supervisors not to spend or plan to spend money expected from the state.
With about five weeks to go before lawmakers come up with a budget plan, commissioners said they fear that state money, even amounts promised, may not be available.
"We cannot allow the county [departments] to spend money, thinking that they are going to be reimbursed ... because they may not," Commissioner Diane Meling said Tuesday morning.
Commissioners said they will emphasize that message to county managers at the next department head meeting. They said they don't want the county to be obligated to pay for amounts the state was supposed to pay.
Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program Coordinator Judy Rosser told commissioners that she wanted to submit a grant application to the state for $33,695 to cover the cost of conducting sobriety checkpoints and anti-drunken driving programs.
Meling asked what would happen if that money is not available.
"We wouldn't schedule the sobriety checkpoints," Rosser answered.
Rosser said she is aware that because of the state budget dispute, about $200,000 is at risk, based on what the lawmakers decide during the budget process. That money is used to provide programs and treatment for those with drug and alcohol problems.
"The treatment providers are aware, too," Rosser said.
Blair County has lost access to an estimated $200,000 in Growing Greener II funds for environmental projects that commissioners decided about two weeks ago to reallocate from a $1.3 million grant.
Jessica Sheets of Innovative Consulting Group Inc. said Tuesday that the state rejected Blair County's recent funding reallocation plan because of a lack of money. Projects approved in 2007 remain intact, and money is available for them, Sheets said.
Money is available for alternative proposals only if linked to energy or brownfield-site improvements, she said.
Commissioners said they were disappointed with that news and asked Sheets to explore using money from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus package, to pay for alternative projects.
The stimulus money, she said, has to be used in areas that will benefit low- to moderate-income residents.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.