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Break budget impasse - Dauphin Co. Commissioners Pressure Lawmakers

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Dauphin Co. Commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday in response to the state budget’s impasse. The officials said the nine-month stalemate paints “a stark picture of the impasse’s body-blows to the county’s most vulnerable residents.”

“The state may think the victims are invisible, but we see the suffering every day,” said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “They are sleeping on our street corners, living in unheated homes, crowding into hospital emergency rooms, and standing in line at soup kitchens.”  

To raise awareness, Haste and fellow commissioners Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III unanimously approved a resolution listing the most significant effects of the impasse on Dauphin County and pledging their partnership in continuing services and seeking solutions.

The commissioners said among the most damaging fiscal impacts, the county had to divert almost $30 million local taxpayer dollars to its human services to keep the care flowing without delays or degradation in service.

“Fortunately, we have managed our resources with extreme care over the years, but the pressure rises with each passing day,” Haste warned. Haste said that while the commissioners’ fiscally conservative approach has enabled the county to go 11 years without a property tax increase, he cautioned that the state action is making it tougher to continue that record.

“While the state has closed its checkbook for nine long months, Dauphin County has not, cannot and will not close our doors to our neighbors in need,” Pries said.

“We have continued to care for children who have suffered abuse and neglect, aided adults with intellectual challenges, sheltered and fed the homeless, provided treatment for those fighting addiction, and more,’’ Pries said. “While the state has missed payment after payment, we cannot afford to miss a beat.’’

Hartwick, who oversees the county’s Human Services, said the state has been cutting funding over the past decade already, while telling counties do more and more with each new law passed.

“For example, the new Child Protective Services law increased referrals to the county by 128 percent, yet funding for new caseworkers did not keep pace,’’ said Hartwick, who leads the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) Human Services Committee.“Some of our most critical programs receive six out of 10 dollars from the state. We cannot go on like this.  We need the state to be a partner in service.” 

The resolution supports the restoration of the 10 percent reduction to seven key human service line-items, asks state leaders to continue to work with them to find ways to render services efficiently and effectively, and asks for strategies to prevent future budget impasses. 

“Most Pennsylvanians find it hard to get by if they miss even one paycheck,” Pries said. “We’ve missed nine months of them.”

“But, despite the impasse, we are not turning anyone anyway,” Hartwick reassured clients. “If you need help, come to our doors.”

“It’s a shame, because the needs in this community continue to grow in a poor economy,” Haste said.  “For the state, for clients, for county taxpayers, this impasse is a lose-lose-lose all the way around.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2016 08:21

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grace period for delinquent taxes in dauphin county

 

DauphinCologoDauphin Co. Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III are offering an interest-free grace period to all property owners with 2015 delinquent property taxes. 

County officials noted approximately 11,300 first-class letters, which include a breakdown of taxes owed and costs for properties, were mailed in February to property owners with unpaid 2015 real property taxes. Property owners must pay their taxes in full by March 31, 2016 to take advantage of the program.

“In some cases, property owners misplace their tax bills or mistakenly assume their mortgage company already paid their taxes,” said Commissioner George Hartwick, who oversees the county’s Tax Claim Bureau. “This interest-free grace period gives property owners another chance to pay their taxes.”

“By waiving the interest period, we increase collections and reduce our mailing costs,” said Commissioner Jeff Haste. “This is another way that we keep revenues coming in and costs from going up.”  

Last year, the county’s Tax Claim Bureau collected $5 million, or 23 percent of 2014 delinquent property taxes, during the grace period. The county also saved approximately $20,000 in postage and printing costs for statutorily mandated certified mail notices.

“This program not only quickly resolves many of our claims, but it also helps taxpayers,” said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Our goal is to make the tax-paying process easier for those who are trying to pay their bills and get back on their feet.”

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2016 07:56

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Snow removal update Middletown Borough

 

Middletown Councilor Diana McGlone reported progress in the town's public work’s department’s efforts to deal with the aftermath of Winter Storm Jonas's gift of over 30 inches of snow..

In a post in Social Media McGlone noted snow removal on Thurs., Jan. 28 will be focused as follows:

•Union St. south of Ann St.

•Pine St. from Spruce St. to Park Circle Dr.

•Widening snow clogged areas and pushing snow back on Oak Hills Drive and Adelia S. north bound from Emaus St.

•Cleaning sidewalks on Borough’s properties

•Other identified problem areas.

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 13:27

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Parking OK on snow-cleared emergency routes in Middletown Borough

 

The Borough of Middletown has announced that although parking restrictions remain in effect in the town, parking is now permitted on snow emergency routes so long as those routes/streets have been completely cleared of snow. 

The borough noted in an alert announced around 11 a.m., Wed., Jan. 25 that parking remains prohibited if a snow emergency route has yet to be cleared of snow.

 

Following are Middletown Borough’s snow emergency routes:

  1. Adelia St. East from Emaus St. to East Main St.
  2. Ann St. North from Swatara Creek west to Grant St.
  3. Catherine St. East from Emaus St. north to Main St.
  4. Emaus St. North from Adelia St. west to Wood St.
  5. Grant St. East from Ann St. to Wilson St.
  6. Main St. Both from Swatara Creek to Apple Avenue
  7. Roosevelt St. North from Vine St. west to Union St.
  8. Union St. Both from Ann St. to Park Circle Road
  9. Union St. East from Ann St. to its southern limits
  10. Vine St. East from Water St. to Aspen St.
  11. Water St. North from Vine St. to Catherine St.
  12. Wilson St. North from Grant St. to and over the overhead bridge to Main St.
  13. Wood St. East from Susquehanna St. north to Emaus St.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 11:18

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Unlawful to save parking spots with objects

 

saveparking spacesMiddletown Police Department is reminding resident /visitors that it is unlawful to place objects in the street to save parking spots.

The department noted "such actions can place people and property at risk, and can serve as a major obstacle for borough employees and contractor attempting to plow the streets."

The borough's ordnance reads as follows:

"It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person from December 1 of any year and continuing until March 31 of the following year to place or cause to be placed any item whatsoever for the purpose of reserving parking spaces on any street in the Borough during any periods of precipitation, whether or not a snow emergency has been declared."

The department asked residents to  keep in mind that public streets are open to all residents and visitors to park upon, unless marked by proper signage (to include permit parking areas), and or restricted by state or local laws. "Any actions taken against another, or his or her property, in retaliation, will not be tolerated," the department's notice added.

The reminder was issued by the police department through Middletown Borough's Nixle system on Wed., Jan. 27.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:45

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