BELLEFONTE — Centre County has a 2024 budget.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the 2024 county budget in the amount of $141,727,824.

Richard Killian, budget and finance director for Centre County, presented the tentative budget to the commissioners almost three weeks ago. He was back for a final presentation and approval.

“We provided a full presentation 20 days ago when we were adopting the tentative budget,” Killian explained. “We are not aware of any comments or questions from the public.”

There will be no increase in county real estate taxes for the 14th consecutive year — the millage of 7.84 mills has remained unchanged. The operating budget is $113,137,810 — an increase of 6% from the 2023 budget — and $28,590,014 is for capital reserve.

The total budget comes in at $141.7 million.

Chair Mark Higgins pointed out that the capital reserve amount is necessary for numerous projects.

“The majority of that $28.6 million is the Centre Crest remodeling project. It’s finally getting underway. … I’m sure there is some money in there for the courthouse, for the Willowbank Building. … There’s quite a lot of spending (needed) to keep the 911 towers and other support structures up and running,” Higgins said.

The budget includes revenues of $112,198,712 — a 5.1% increase over the 2023 budget.

The overwhelming majority is from grants (federal and state) and payments in lieu of taxes, totaling $56,977,498.

“It’s not quite balanced, but it’s close,” Higgins said.

Commissioner Amber Concepcion thanked everyone for their efforts in getting the budget completed on time.

“Big thanks to everyone in the administration … Jason Moser, our controller and our controller’s office … all of the work that has been done by our finance team. This has been a really transparent process where we’ve been able to work through department by department to see what were the financial pressures that were on each department,” Concepcion said.

She said that through the process, they were able to zero in on some opportunities for savings.

“The end result here is a budget that is focused on meeting the needs of people in Centre County,” Concepcion said.

For Commissioner Steve Dershem, it’s his 20th budget.

“This is a pretty strong budget and it puts us in a good position for 2024 and 2025. I just hope we can continue to see the revenue streams and everything can continue at the rate we’ve enjoyed them in the past,” Dershem said.

He thanked everyone involved.

“This is not done in a vacuum. It’s tough to make those decisions and not everyone gets the full measure of what they’d like. But I think this year, we’ve been very fair,” Dershem said.

Higgins talked about getting the budget balanced without a property tax increase.

“For the 14th year in a row, we’ve been able to do all of this without an increase in Centre County Government property taxes,” Higgins said. “A big part of that is the hundreds of state and federal grants that we’ve applied successfully for. … We appreciate everyone’s help and support on this.”

The BOC will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Willowbank Building. The meeting is open to the public and will be televised live by C-NET.

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