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Blair begins public budget meetings

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County commissioners have set up five public meetings to review and consider allocations for a proposed 2021 budget.

Meetings, available to the public via telephone in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, start at 2 p.m. today. To join the meeting, call 408-419-1715 and enter meeting code: 2468097683#

Additional budget meetings, also to be available by phone, are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. Monday, 1 p.m. Oct. 27 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17.

Plans call for introducing the 2021 tentative budget on Nov. 20 based on a public notice advertised in Tuesday’s Mirror.

In recent weeks, commissioners have been meeting individually with department heads to review their 2021 spending requests and anticipated revenue.

When meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Amy Webster said she would commend the departments she works with on their budgetary efforts while acknowledging that additional budget cuts will have to be considered.

Webster also referenced a concern linked to predictions of declining tax revenue, ranging from 8% to 15%.

At the last 2020 budget review session, Finance Director Jennifer Sleppy told commissioners that the real estate taxes initially lagged in the first quarter of the year but increased in the second quarter.

The county’s 2019 audit showed that fiscal year ending in the black, when revenue exceeded expenditures by $840,188.

To balance the 2020 budget of $56.78 million, commissioners settled on a real estate tax increase of 3.79% and the use of almost $1.9 million in reserve funds.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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