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Alterations improve county's bottom line

| Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 12:24 a.m.

As part of the Westmoreland County commissioners' regular business meeting, board members regularly approve alterations to the preceding year's budget as new details become available.

One change made Thursday was more than $37,000 added to the county's bottom line by the District Attorney's Office.

Commissioner Tom Balya had questioned a prior budget transfer to cover what fiscal employees believed was a $120,000 shortfall at the end of the year in the department's salary line item.

The office had a $2.3 million budget for 2004. At the beginning of the year, a new board of commissioners cut $230,000 from the line item, but Commissioner Tom Ceraso and the late commissioner Terry Marolt approved Peck's plan to increase fine collections, where available, to offset the cuts.

The recent $37,000 transfer reflects some money that was received from an investigative fund and other funds under the control of District Attorney John Peck.

Still to come are a number of large fines that have been collected from gambling, prostitution and drug busts.

"We've made a significant effort to increase the fine collections from those cases, and to make sure they were paid at the time of the plea. I believe the fine collections will equal the 10 percent cut from the budget," Peck said.

Several row offices added to the bottom line as well. Most significantly, Sheriff Chris Scherer added more than $200,000, the result of collecting more fees for posting sales and other legal notices.

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