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Fayette budget on Monday's agenda

| Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 10:15 p.m.

Fayette County commissioners will meet on Monday to consider adopting a final budget for 2014.

The $32 million spending plan will not call for a tax increase, according to commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vincent Zapotosky.

Ambrosini and Zapotosky in November approved a proposed budget with $35 million in expenses but only about $32 million in revenues. The two commissioners on Friday said they have since pared expenses to match revenues.

Among the $3 million in cuts that were made were nearly all requests from department heads for new hires. Only a few requests for new hires remain in the budget, Ambrosini said, including one that calls for additional corrections officers to staff a proposed temporary women's prison annex.

The proposed temporary women's annex is expected to alleviate overcrowding at the 124-year-old jail in Uniontown until a new prison is built. The annex is to be located in a vacant building on Iowa Street in Uniontown, but the county is still negotiating terms of a proposed lease with the property owner, Steve Neubauer.

Zapotosky said another cut was made to the annual retirement contribution to the pension. The county's actuary recommended the county put between $1.4 million and $1.5 million into the pension, he said, but it is not included in the budget as proposed.

Zapotosky and Ambrosini said they do not feel that the annual contribution is needed because the pension fund has grown from $50 million to at least $62 million since July 2012, when Park Peirce Management Group of Westchester was hired to manage it.

Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said Ambrosini and Zapotosky advised her of the changes they made to balance the budget, but she could not comment on specifics because as of late Friday afternoon the changes had not been made to an electronic working copy of the budget that is available to commissioners and department heads.

“They've informed me of their discussion with Sam Lynch over the weekend giving their decision to balance the budget by removing the $1.6 million ARC payments and some other expenses which they listed in their proposed budget and also adding revenue using Act 13 monies and recalculating the debt service fund and my response and to that I gave my suggestions & opinion but given that neither I nor the chief clerk have their amounts as of Friday afternoon I am unable to comment on the specifics,” Zimmerlink wrote in an email.

Commissioners are to meet at 9:30 a.m. in their conference room at the courthouse in Uniontown to adopt the budget.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 orlzemba@tribweb.com.

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